United States
        Environmental Protection
EPA 530-F-94-008
March 1994
        Solid Waste and Emergency Response (5305)
SEPA  Collecting Used
        Oil for
        Tips for
        Consumers Who
        Change Their Own
        Motor Oil and
        Oil Filters

For  years,,,.
commonly was reused or discarded in
ways that neither protected the
environment nor conserved its resource
value. In the United States alone, an
estimated 200 million gallons of used
motor mil are improperly disposed of by
being dumped on the ground, tossed in
the trash (ending up in landfills), and
poured down storm sewers and drains.
Just one gallon of used oil has the
potential to contaminate up to one
million gallons of drinking water.
Additionally, used oil that ends up in
the country's rivers, lakes, and streams
can threaten aquatic life.

If all off the used  oil that is improperly
disposed of were  properly managed, the
United States could save thousands
of barrels of oil each day. Used oil
that is properly handled can be
re-refined into lubricants,
processed into fuel oils, and
used as raw materials for
the refining and
petrochemical industries.



   ITurn off the engine, block the wheels,
   and set the parking brake before getting
under your car. To avoid burns, make sure
that the engine is not too hot. Consult your
owner's manual for directions.

2    Remove the drain plug on
    the bottom of the engine's
oil pan and allow the used oil
to drain from your car into a
suitable container, such as a drip pan.

3    If you are changing your oil filter, do it
    next and follow the directions below,
and on the filter.  Regardless, replace the
drain plug in the bottom of the engine's oil
pan. Make sure that it's tight.

4    Carefully add the new engine oil.
    Although most cars take four to five
quarts of oil, always check your owner's
manual for the amount of oil required and
the recommended grade of motor oil to be
used. Do not overfill.

5    With the parking brake still set, and in a
    well-ventilated area, start the engine of
the car. The oil pressure light may be on,
but should go out after a few seconds. Once
the light goes out, allow the engine to run
for a few minutes.

6    Turn off the engine and check the oil
    level. Also,  check around the oil filter
and drain plug for oil leaks.

7   So you know when to change your oil
   next, write down the date and mileage, as
well as grade and brand of motor oil you
8   Use a funnel or
   carefully pour the used
oil from the drip pan into
a suitable recycling
container (see below).
Reuse the drip pan; don't
rinse the residual oil down
the drain.
9   Protect the environment and conserve
   resources by taking your used oil to your
nearest public used oil collection center,
such as a service station
or lube center. Also look
for the "oil drop." This
is a petroleum industry
symbol indicating that
used oil is collected for
After draining the oil from your car's
crankcase, pour the oil into a clean,
leakproof container with
a screw-on top. Many
household containers
are suitable, including
original motor oil
containers. Never use
containers that held
household chemicals,
such as bleach. Make
sure that the container
has a secure lid so it
cannot spill.

Containers specifically designed
for carrying used motor oil also
may be purchased at automotive
supply stores.

If you don't take  your
used oil to a recycling
center  immediately,
never temporarily store
it in any  container that
once held food,
beverages, or chemicals.
Regardless of the type of
container used for
carrying or  storing  used
oil,  be sure it is clean,
clearly labeled "Used Oil,"
and kept  out of the reach
of children and pets.
Take the container to the nearest
used oil collection center.  If
your community doesn't have a collection
center, check with your local service station
or an automobile maintenance facility (such
as a lube center, repair shop, or car dealership).





Where it's practical and cost effective, empty
used oil filters are being collected for
recycling. Check with the used oil collection
facility where you take your used motor oil to
see if it accepts used oil filters, or if it can
direct you to a place that does. If you don't
have any facilities in your area that recycle
used oil filters, the empty used filter usually
can be wrapped  in newspaper and disposed of

with your regular household trash. Check
with your trash collection service before
discarding the filter because some states
don't allow used  oil filters to be landfilled.
Whether you recycle or dispose of your
used oil filter, it must be drained of
used oil. Special handling is required to
properly drain  an oil filter:
   IUse a filter wrench
   (if necessary) to loosen
the old oil filter. Carefully
remove the used filter.
2    Drain the filter of any oil. Using a sharp
    tool, puncture a hole in the dome end
of the filter or through the antidrain back
valve located on the flat end of it.  The
most effective method for properly draining
the filter is to puncture the antidrain back
valve or the filter dome and allow the used
oil to flow into a container appropriate for
recycling it. (Antidrain back valves are
present in  most automotive and light duty
truck filter models. The valve consists of a
rubber flap that creates a vacuum to
prevent oil from draining back into the
engine when it is not running. Puncturing
the filter breaks the vacuum and allows the
"trapped" oil to be recovered for recycling.)

3    Place the flat end of the punctured filter
    on the  used oil collection container and
drain as much used oil as possible out of
the filter. It is important for used oil filters
to be drained a minimum of 12 hours near
engine operating temperature and above
room temperature (approximately 60F).

4   Install the new oil filter according to the
   manufacturer's instructions. Coat the
rubber seal on it with a small amount of oil,
then replace it. Do not use a filter wrench to
tighten the new filter as this may damage
the filter. Instead, tighten it snugly with
your fingers, following the directions
supplied with the filter.



For further information, call your local or
state government environmental agency for
details regarding used oil recycling programs
in your area.
Remember:  environmental quality is
everybody's business, and everyone can help.
Developing smart recycling habits makes
good sense.  Recycling saves money, and it
protects our environment. So become a part
of the solution, recycle your used motor oil
and oil filters, along with newspaper, glass,
metals, plastic, yard trimmings, and other
If your community has a recycling program,
join it. If an existing community program
doesn't include used oil  recycling, expand it
so that it does. If there's no program
available, start one. Write for EPA's
manual entitled How to  Set Up a
Local Program to Recycle Used Oil
at the address below or call
EPA's RCRA Hotline
at 1-800-424-9346.

U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency
Office of Solid Waste
RCRA Information Center (5305)
401 M Street, SW.
Washington, DC  20460

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