Motor oil is essential to the proper lubrication and functioning of the engines in vehicles, as is replacing it on a regular basis. Oil, when disposed of improperly, does not readily break down and has the potential to cause harm to plants and animals of the natural environment. Even small amounts of oil can contaminate the freshwater supply on which many people, animals and plants rely to sustain life. In addition, neglecting to dispose of used motor oil properly is illegal.
On the bright side, used motor oil can be recycled into re-refined oil and used again, in turn saving energy and slowing the demand for new oil production.
If you are one of the many people who change their own oil, following the correct procedures for storage and recycling of used motor oil is extremely important. Oil must be drained into a container that does not leak and has a dependable screw-on top. Containers designed specifically for this purpose can be easily purchased at automotive specialty stores or mass retailers. Make sure that the container you use has not been previously used to store household or other chemicals. Also, use a drop cloth below your work area to avoid spills and splatters that can be difficult or impossible to clean up and can cause harm to the environment.
Use the phone book, internet or referrals to determine the most convenient way to recycle used motor oil in your area. Some communities provide the containers in which to drain your used oil as well as roadside pick up service. If you do not have this lucky option, check with oil change service stations, automotive repair shops or car dealers in your local area to determine which places recycle used oil. Also, inquire about the proper procedure for recycling the oil that has collected in your oil filter. Another option to determine oil recycling locations in your area is to use one of the web services which allow you to enter your zip code to obtain a list of nearby locations that will recycle used motor oil. Some oil collection centers will even pay you for your used oil!
Another measure you can take to protect the environment from contamination from used motor oil is to ensure that your vehicle is free of oil leaks. You may also consider using a longer life oil in your vehicle, which increases the amount of miles you can drive between oil changes and thus reduces your overall oil consumption.
About the Author: Bob Jent is the CEO of Western Pipeline Corporation. Western Pipeline Corp specializes in identifying, acquiring and developing existing, producing reserves on behalf of its individual clients.