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Because You Asked

Can Motor Oil Be Recycled?
5

By Recyclebank |

There is a rare chance to give a fossil fuel a second life.


Dear Recyclebank,

Why doesn't anyone recycle motor oil today? When it is time for an oil change on my modern car, it sometimes comes out almost as clean as it went in. I am tempted to use it without further refinement in my lawn mower. If you can refine crude oil, why can't you re-refine used oil?

-Art P.

 

Dear Art,

Motor oil is still being recycled into re-refined oil today and a few brands are available for purchase. It’s subject to all the same quality standards as newly refined oil and is more efficient to process. In fact, the EPA says, “It takes 42 gallons of crude oil, but only 1 gallon of used oil, to produce 2.5 quarts of new, high-quality lubricating oil.” With the U.S. going through about 1.3 billion gallons of oil annually, this can add up fast. It makes good economic and environmental sense to recycle your motor oil and to purchase re-refined oil when possible.

We recommend that you take your used motor oil to be re-refined rather than reusing it as is. While it may look clean, used oil will need to be refined not only for dirt but also water, heavy metals, and other trace elements and compounds that are not necessarily visible. If you are changing your car’s oil yourself, you can drop it off for recycling at an auto shop that accepts used oil (many do). The American Petroleum Institute has drop-off locator for locations that accept used motor oil for recycling. Whatever you do, never pour oil down a drain or on the ground! It is toxic to human and environmental health and can pollute waterways.

On the other end of the process, Valvoline sells re-refined oil under the name NextGen. It’s available at a number of major auto outlets and service locations as listed on the NextGen website, but they advise that you call ahead to make sure it’s in stock. If not, other brands may be available.

SOURCES
Compoundings
NYC Recycles
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Scientific American
American Petroleum Institute

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  • John D. 4 months ago
    Woohoo, I snagged 3 bottles of Castrol 5W-20 full synthetic oil and 7 bottles of Castrol ATF in my Kroger clearance section for $1.50 each. Hand washing required though as the filthy bottles have been sitting on the shelf for a long time.
  • Steven S. 4 months ago
    Posted Sunday, December 19,2021
  • Cindy W. 4 months ago
    These old posts are just a reminder to me. I would never pour toxic chemicals down the sink or on the ground, however, it's still a good for anyone new who comes join this site. Unfortunately, I feel some people need incentive to learn about recycling and I think Recyclebank is falling short on this part of the program. It is their job to find companies that will support this site. I am still thankful we still have this site because I find peoples comments and inspiration rewarding.
    • Donna D. 4 months ago
      Yes, I remember the reason I joined Recycebank back in 2010 was that someone told me I could collect points and redeem for coupons at CVS. I think there were cereal coupons also. I think they just don't have anyone to coordinate efforts to get companies to set up these rewards. If they don't want to do gift cards, how about some coupons for everyday items that people would use?
    • Cindy W. 4 months ago
      Good ideas. Are you listenening Recylebank?
  • Stacy M. 4 months ago
    Merry Christmas!!! Hope everyone is safe & well. Hoping for e-gift cards in 2022.
  • PC M. 5 months ago
    I believe that Valvoline NextGen Motor Oils are a thing of the past. I have used it however, I don't see it any longer on store/auto store shelves where other Valvoline Oils are sold nor on their web site that is linked here at Recyclebank.
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