How Is Used Oil Disposed Of?

Written by nadria tucker
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How Is Used Oil Disposed Of?
Proper disposal of oil can prevent environmental concerns. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Proper waste disposal is an environmental concern. Improper disposal of used cooking and motor oils can lead to sewage backups, health risks and pollution. Disposing of or recycling used oil properly can prevent these problems.

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Cooking Oil Don'ts

Used cooking oil should not be poured down drains or garbage disposals. The commonly used method of mixing used grease with hot water and dish soap is ineffective. While this method may stop grease from clogging up the pipes directly below the sink, it could cause a blockage once the hot water cools and the grease hardens while travelling through the pipes.

Cooking Oil Dos

The proper method for disposing small amounts of cooking oil is to place the oil in sealed, sturdy containers in the trash. For larger amounts of oil, it is recommended that you find an oil-recycling program in your area. Recycling programs like these can take used cooking oil and turn it into cattle feed and biodiesel. Restaurants that need to dispose of large amounts of cooking oil can contact a commercial grease hauling company to remove their waste.

Motor Oil Don'ts

Motor oil is considered a hazardous waste in California, Massachusets and Rhode Island. Improper disposal of used motor oil in those states is illegal. Used motor oil should never be poured onto the ground or into the sewer system. Improperly disposed motor oil can seep through the dirt into the groundwater and contaminate the local drinking water supply. If poured down the drain, motor oil can damage the local water treatment system and cause contamination.

Motor Oil Dos

Recycling motor oil keeps used oil out of the water supply. After changing a vehicle's oil, the proper way to dispose of the used oil is to put the liquid in a secure container like an old plastic milk jug with a secure lid. Used motor oil must be stored away from heat. Many gas stations and auto repair shops will take used oil for free. The used motor oil may be recycled and used in power plants or industrial boilers. It can also be re-refined and used again as lubricating motor oil.

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