Used Oil materials
What is it?
Oil is needed as a lubricant for the proper functioning of vehicles, farm machinery, and industrial equipment. The term ‘used oil’ classifies any petroleum-based or synthetic oil product that can no longer be utilized for its original purpose because of the presence of impurities and/or the loss of its original properties. At which point, the dirty oil needs to be removed and replaced with new oil. Additional materials that are parts of oil usage include oil filters (made of metal) and oil containers (made of plastic).
What is the issue?
Used oil becomes dirty as it is cycled through machines. Being in contact with these moving, hot, metal pieces means that impurities transferred to the oil include heavy metals and potentially carcinogenic compounds. The presence of these contaminants in used oil means it is environmental hazardous. It only takes one liter of used oil to contaminate one million liters of water. Before being crushed, one used oil filter can still contain up to 8 oz./250 mL of used oil. Since many filters are 85% steel, they will take forever to decompose if dumped into a landfill. Plastic containers take up valuable space in the landfill and take hundreds of years to break down. Burning the plastic containers is harmful to human health because dangerous toxins are given off through the burning process.
Where can it go?
Drop-off locations for used oil in the province are provided by the Saskatchewan Association for Resource Recovery Corporation (SARRC), funded through Environmental Handling Charges (EHC) on program materials. These 37 Eco centres, as well as numerous retailers, across the province act as drop-off sites for used oil. An Eco centre is a fully serviced centre where consumers and small business owners can drop off their used oil, oil filters & oil containers, as well as, antifreeze containers, diesel exhaust fluid containers and antifreeze fluid for recycling. Check out our Waste Reduction Hub for places in your area that accept these products. For businesses generating large volumes of used oil materials, SARRC has registered collectors who will pick up the materials directly and deliver to processors that recycle the products.
What happens after?
According to the SARRC & UOMA websites, used oil is re-refined to lubricant quality. It is also used as industrial burner fuel or reprocessed into other petroleum products. Filters are processed at steel recycling mills and turned into other metal products such as construction rebar, angle iron, and pipe. Plastic containers are recycled into new containers, plastic durable goods such as pipe, guardrail posts, fencing and patio furniture.
How can I reduce?
- To prevent spills, use a drip pan and oil spout when changing engine oil.
- Use empty oil containers to return your used oil in.
- Diving fewer kilometers extends the time between oil changes.