The Disposal of Oil Drums

Updated July 20, 2017

Improper disposal of used oil contaminates the ground, rivers and oceans. The oil poisons fish, birds and other animals. It never breaks down, so the effects are ongoing. Many states require that individuals dispose of used oil and the oil drum containers at a licensed recycling centre or auto store. This requirement protects citizens and the environment from the serious problems that arise from improper disposal. In addition to the disposal centres, many communities promote kerbside recycling programs that allow individuals to leave the oil drums at their curbs for pickup.

Locate the oil recycling facilities in your area. Look at your state's environmental or recycling website for government-sponsored facilities. Find the auto stores in your area. Many stores, like Advance Auto Parts and Jiffy Lube, allow individuals to dispose of oil drums at their locations. Some even have recycling programs that encourage and promote proper disposal of oil and hazardous materials.

Choose a disposal location. Call the location before going since some locations may have a maximum daily limit of oil that they can accept. In addition, some states, like California, will pay you for the oil by the gallon.

Take the oil drum to the certified collection facility or store. Most will have someone there to help you unload the drum and tell you the appropriate area to leave it in.


Some facilities provide pickup services.


Certified facilities do not accept oil drums filled with oil contaminated by gasoline, solvents, antifreeze or water.

Things You'll Need

  • Oil drum
  • Certified disposal facility
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About the Author

Alisa Stevens has been writing articles and business/marketing materials since 1994. She has experience writing for and about a variety of industries, including the legal, transportation, government and education sectors. Stevens holds a B.A. in journalism and an M.B.A. from Arizona State University, as well as a J.D. from Loyola Law School.