Public Works
Recycle Used Oil

Why We Should Recycle Used Oil

  • Used motor oil is insoluble, persistent and can contain toxic chemicals and heavy metals.  It's slow to degrade.  It sticks to everything from beach sand to bird feathers.  Used motor oil is a major source of oil contamination of waterways and can result in pollution of drinking water sources.  – EPA Used Oil Management Program

  • An average oil change uses five quarts; one change can contaminate a million gallons of fresh water.  Much oil in runoff from land and municipal and industrial wastes ends up in the oceans.  – Ocean Planet

  • Short term damage:  Oil-covered fur or feathers can't insulate marine mammals and diving birds from cold water, and when an animal cleans itself, it also swallows oil.  – Ocean Planet

  • Long term damage:  Bottom-dwelling fish exposed to compounds released after oil spills may develop liver disease and reproductive and growth problems.  – Ocean Planet

  • Used oil is typically contaminated or mixed with dirt, fine particles, water or chemicals, all of which affect the performance of the soil and eventually render it unusable.  – The Office of Risk Management

  • Improper disposal of used oil costs money...your money!  You pay in higher consumer prices, taxes for environmental cleanups, and increased health care costs when wastes are improperly managed.  Recycling saves money and protects the environment.  – City of Chicago Used Motor Oil Recycling

  • Used oil does not readily dissolve in water and is slow to degrade in the environment.  One pint of oil can produce an oil slick nearly one acre in size.  Used oil from a single oil change (approximately 4 quarts of oil) can ruin 1 million gallons of water...a year's supply for 50 people.  – City of Chicago Used Motor Oil Recycling

  • A quart of motor oil can contaminate up to 250,000 gallons of drinking water!  – DPW Bureau of Sanitation

  • Used oil poured down your sewer line can damage your community's water treatment system – contaminating your drinking water and costing you money.  In most areas improper disposal of used oil is a crime.  – American Petroleum Institute

  • One pint of oil can produce a slick of approximately one acre on the surface of water.  Films of oil on the surface of water prevent the replenishment of dissolved oxygen, impair photosynthetic processes, and block sunlight.  – Integrated Waste Management Board
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