Used Motor Oil Disposal: How to Do it Right

  • Aug 22, 2022
motor oil motor oil

When motor oil (also known as engine oil) is not disposed of properly, the environmental implications can be serious— from contaminating waterways and polluting local drinking sources to toxifying soil in your nearby community. The Environmental Protection Agency has numerous laws regarding the safe disposal of motor oil, and your state's regulations may be even stricter. To protect the environment and stay above the law, it's essential to learn how to properly dispose of motor oil.

How to Properly Dispose of Motor Oil

Firestone Complete Auto Care's oil services include replacing and recycling your used motor oil and oil filter. You should think twice before changing your own oil, but if you prefer to do it yourself, here's the process you'll want to follow.

Contain the Motor Oil

When changing your oil at home and disposing of it properly, your first step should be finding a way to collect it. Start by laying down a tarp (or similar material) beneath your vehicle. Once the tarp has been placed appropriately, position a drip pan under the oil pan drain plug to catch any draining oil. 

Clear Out the Oil Filter

Properly emptying your oil filter is an essential part of disposing your used motor oil the right way.  After removing the used oil filter from the vehicle, place it threaded side down at a slight angle in the catch pan to allow some of the used oil to drain. The oil filter will still have used oil trapped in it, so seal it in a plastic bag and take it with you when recycling your used motor oil.

Safely Store the Motor Oil

Safely storing your used motor oil is crucial. Using a funnel if needed, drain the oil from the drip pan you used into another storage container that's safe to transport. You can use the original container that the oil came in or a clean polyethylene container. 

You'll also want to keep your used motor oil away from other automotive fluids, including water, since mixing oil can make proper disposal difficult. Store the container in a cool, dry place until you're able to recycle it.

Where to Dispose of Old Motor Oil

When recycling used motor oil and learning how to dispose of empty motor oil bottles, there are many options to consider. Check them out below: 

Where to Bring Old Motor Oil

  • Waste Collection Sites: Your city or county likely has oil recycling collection centers. Research online to find the nearest one to you.
  • Curbside Recycling: Check your local county or municipal website to find a curbside recycling program near you. Ensure that motor oil is an acceptable waste for collection, and follow your service's protocol and packaging requirements.
  • Earth 911: If you aren't able to pinpoint a waste collection site or curbside recycling program near you, Earth 911 may be able to assist in your search.
  • Local Auto Parts Suppliers: Many local auto parts suppliers will recycle used oil and oil filters for free. Ask about recycling when purchasing the supplies.

Where Not to Dispose of Old Motor Oil

  • Storm drains: Dumping your old motor oil into nearby storm drains is not only illegal in many states, but it can also contaminate local drinking sources.
  • On the ground: Dumping motor oil on the ground can have negative environmental and legal implications. Avoid doing this at all costs.
  • Garbage cans: Motor oil is a major toxic pollutant so avoid throwing it into any sort of garbage collector. Otherwise, it will end up in a landfill, contaminating the ground and other water sources.

Proper Disposal of Used Motor Oil at Firestone

Disposing of your motor oil properly is crucial for both legal and environmental reasons. Make doing your part easy, by getting motor oil services at your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care

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