What to do with used oil: how to dispose of it, where to use it, and where to sell it

Disposal and use of used oil

A seemingly trivial question – what to do with used car oil – is actually not as harmless as it may seem at first glance. Ignorance or neglect of all its aspects leads to very undesirable consequences, both locally and globally. For example, unsophisticated motorists, having decanted their used oil from the car by their own efforts, often pour it directly on the ground somewhere near the house or garage, causing it irreparable harm. Therefore, every driver should familiarize themselves with expert advice on how to dispose of used oil, considering the many facets of the problem.

What to do with used oil: how to dispose of it, where you can use it and where to sell it

What to do with used oil

Depressing statistics more than eloquently testifies to one thing: not everyone knows what to do with used oil, the volumes of which are enormous. According to the latest data about 60 million tons of engine oil are consumed in the world every year (based on fuel equivalent). However out of this amount only about 25% is used repeatedly in different variants. Domestic data is even lower. For example, it is only recycled to less than 15 percent (0.25 million tons out of 1.7 million), compared to 55 percent in Germany.

Meanwhile, such oil can be used not without success for many purposes. In railroads it is widely used for treating sleepers. In the construction industry for a long time oil waste is used as an excellent primer to cover wooden, bituminous surfaces, which are exposed to moisture and other atmospheric influences. At the expense of this surface become much more stable and can reliably serve for many years. In recent years there has been increasing information that used engine oil is used as an excellent fuel for homemade stoves in private homes, although the reaction of experts to such its use is not unequivocal.

Waste Oil Disposal

Why you shouldn’t drain the engine oil

The thoughtless dumping of used engine oil is extremely damaging to the environment. If you pour it out on the ground, it will:

  • Substantially weaken its ability to “give birth,” to feed water and other beneficial substances to plants;
  • Through underground water streams such oil will inevitably get into one of the nearest water veins, from which, perhaps, someone takes drinking or technical water and simply poison it.

There are other grave environmental consequences of thoughtlessly dumping the waste directly on the ground or into the water, as is often seen in domestic practice. It would be much more economical to sell the used oil, which will be discussed later, and get money for it or, by pouring it into a safe container, use it for your own domestic purposes.

What to store used oil in

There are time-tested rules for storing used oil. First of all, they concern those rooms, places where oil is stored. They must be well ventilated and designed specifically for technical purposes. For example, this role can be a car garage or a shed standing next to it, but access should be limited and free to only a small circle of people because such oil is a toxic substance. For the same reason, glass, metal or plastic storage containers should be carefully selected. It should, of course, hermetically sealed, should be inaccessible to children and other strangers, animals. A prudent proprietor should also make sure to mark such packaging so that he or she knows exactly where everything is kept.

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Waste oil storage

Disposing of the waste for recycling

Many drivers wonder where to dispose of used oil. A productive way is also the surrender of used oil. This traditional issue is not a problem. There are points for its paid reception not only in large cities, but also in many other localities. If the driver, say, has never done it, do not know the address, then by entering the appropriate Internet query, the searcher will get the nearest localities, where it will be more convenient to pass the used oil. It will also work well to poll experienced motorists, who probably know the location of such collection points. By the way, if the driver over the years has collected a considerable amount of unnecessary waste, he can order the firms that deal with its collection, the arrival of special equipment at home. Often for this driver-neighbors cooperate. It is noteworthy that in some developed countries, collection of waste is encouraged in every way. For example, they not only pay good money for it, but also sell new oil at a good discount.


Of course, it is impossible to correctly and safely dispose of used machine oil by one’s own efforts. That is why the best option is to ask for help from the companies, which are dealing with such recycling on the professional level. This will protect the owner of the car from unwanted environmental and other excesses.

Waste Oil Disposal

Domestic use

Deciding what to do with used oil, you can also think about what you can use it in your household. There are plenty of spheres of its application, as it has specific properties. Because of what it is widely used as an effective anti-corrosion material for the lubrication of moving mechanisms of all kinds of household power tools, rubbing parts of mopeds and bicycles. Used machine oil should not be harmful not only to its owner but also to other people and the environment, so we strongly advise you to dispose of it properly.

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Where to dispose of used oil: for the benefit of the household and without harming the environment

Photo 1

Engine oil protects the internal combustion engine by collecting oxidation products, metal particles, tar compounds and other contaminants.

It is replaced every 5-10 thousand kilometers of car mileage, so the actual problem is where to dispose of engine oil from the car and how it can be used.

The home craftsmen know quite a few “grandfatherly” options, where you can dispose of the used drained oil from the engine. Some of this heritage is really useful, and some methods are better to forget at once.

Familiarize yourself with the various uses of used oil, consider their disadvantages, and take note of the hazardous properties of the waste.

Recycling is worthwhile

Photo 2

Disposal of used oil in the ground, water, or sewage system is harmful for the environment, human and animal health.

Therefore, look for alternative uses, or take it to a recycling center.

At the end of its useful life, engine oil is unsuitable for use as engine protection, but it can become a helper and find a “second life” in the home.

Used petroleum products have excellent anti-corrosion properties, burn well, and can be used as a lubricant.

Waste fluids are stored in sealed and marked containers, preventing leakage. Containers with oil products are placed in areas protected from moisture, atmospheric precipitation, direct sunlight.

How can I use waste oil?

To decide to reuse used machine oil in the farm, it will not be superfluous to be aware of the obvious unsafe of each method.

Impregnating wood and hardening metal

Do not rush to part with the used oil or let it into the furnace if you have wooden outbuildings or a fence, located away from the living quarters in the open air. Over many years of life, pests penetrate the natural material, damage it, and as a result, the wood turns into chaff.

You can prevent a negative scenario by treating the material with waste oil. In addition to protection against bark beetles, waste oil protects wooden items from moisture, mold, mildew and sun .

The effective method appeared during the total deficit of the last century and has not lost relevance over decades of practice.

Residential wood house to treat with such a compound is dangerous. The least of the troubles – unbearable smell, which is long does not weatherize. Of more serious problems – oil products are very toxic and dangerous to human health and pets.

The third reason is that a building covered with a layer of flammable oil, is extremely unreliable in terms of fire safety, for the ignition of a spark is enough.

You can treat wooden holders of shovels, hoes, rakes with oil product. Such composition is also suitable for strengthening metal elements. It is not necessary to be a blacksmith. You do not need a furnace to harden metal. For a small part, a gas burner will suffice.

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Photo 3

With the high price of natural gas, many are looking for alternative heating options.

Using waste as fuel is a good idea for those who grow crops in a greenhouse or maintain a farm.

The most common way is to use solid fuel boilers. Even raw firewood, if sprinkled with spent fuel, will ignite in a couple of minutes.

Farmers’ greenhouses install heat guns that run on a mixture of diesel fuel and any waste oil.

Smoke from burning oil products is very dangerous for people living nearby. The high toxicity of waste oil does not allow it to be burned in or near residential areas.

If the waste is burned in the boiler, more toxic tars will be deposited on the boiler walls and mainly carbon dioxide will be emitted outside. If the fuel is used away from people, the smoke is not harmful to health.

Cleaning and intended use

Cleaned waste oil can be reused for its intended purpose. It is often reused in low- and medium-powered engines as well as in hydraulic equipment.

The main and obligatory stage of mechanical cleaning is sedimentation. The principle is natural sedimentation of impurities and suspended water, where the key effect is determined by gravity. The higher the sedimentation rate of the particles, the greater their size and specific gravity and the lower the viscosity of the oil.

Metal particles, resinous substances and coke are more susceptible to precipitation. The oil should be allowed to stand for a few days until the sludge has fallen out. The oil is then carefully drained and passed through a filter. Standing out often does not produce the desired result.

Even with a long process, most impurities remain in suspension – especially in oils with detergent additives and oils with finely dispersed contaminants.

To get rid of the oxidation products, a chemical method is used – exposure to coagulation agents. Sodium phosphate, zinc chloride, liquid glass and starch solution are used most often.

Treating Sills and Cavities of a Car

Even used engine oil can be used to protect a car. Only not the engine, but the metal parts from corrosion. Exhaust is used to treat closed cavities of the body, sills, fenders. The method is suitable for both ferrous and non-ferrous metals, extending their service life by 5 years.

Treated surfaces become a fire hazard. Besides, the toxic material is harmful to your health.

Lubrication of metal parts

Photo 4

Even used products retain their lubricating properties. Therefore chains, threaded joints and other friction surfaces which require regular lubrication are treated with it.

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However, the waste is not suitable for the lubrication of every device or device. For example, exhaust can safely be used to lubricate door hinges, vise mechanism, keyholes (not in residential areas), overhangs on the doors of outbuildings.

It is strongly not recommended to use oil drained from an internal combustion engine for chainsaw chain lubrication or fine work on the joints of a drill. The reason is that used oil contains a lot of clots and small particles of metal shavings.

The oil passages of the tool are likely to get clogged, and it will be very difficult to clean them. This is usually done with good quality mineral oil.

Boar Bait

Hunters use waste oil to bait wild boars. The animals hear the attractive smell of petroleum products to them and run to it to clean their fur of parasites.

For discs.

Many beginners use waste oil to put a tire on a rim. The main driving motive is obvious economy. But the disadvantages of the method according to knowledgeable people completely outweigh the benefits.

Over time, the layer of oil dries and hardens, turning almost to stone. It is very difficult to remove the rubber from such a disc without damaging it. In addition, this “grease” dries for an extremely long time – it becomes quite risky to operate the car.

Can I throw it away?

Many motorists simply do not know where to use the used oil, not thinking at all about the consequences for the nature, can throw it away and pour it directly on the soil.

Used oil, be it engine, transmission or any other oil, is not just a fluid that has lost its useful properties.

Used petroleum products belong to the 3rd class of hazard for the environment – it will take at least 10 years for nature to recover from damage.

The dangerous properties of petroleum products are toxicity and fire hazard due to their ability to maintain combustion, self-ignition and spontaneous combustion.

In addition, petroleum products are considered to be very harmful chemical pollutants in the environment.

Photo 5

If about 20 grams of petroleum products get into 10 kg of soil, it becomes unfit for plant life and soil microflora.

1 liter of waste completely deprives 40,000 liters of water of oxygen. A spill of 1 ton of oil products pollutes 12 km2 of the surface of a water body.

Eating fish from a polluted water body is dangerous for human health: hydrocarbons accumulate in fish tissues, reaching the toxic limit, then are transmitted through the food chain, forming carcinogenic formations in human cells.

Soil contamination with waste oil changes all its fertile and ecological functions, displaces air, disrupts the circulation of water and nutrients. As a result, plant growth slows down and then death occurs.

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The combination of hydrocarbon and hydrogen sulfide inherent in petroleum products is dangerous to the human body. Men are susceptible to lung and laryngeal cancer, and women to colon and breast cancer.

Cardiovascular system, liver, endocrine glands, CNS suffer, blood processes are disturbed – concentration of hemoglobin and red blood cells decreases. Acute poisoning is possible, sometimes with a fatal outcome.

Where can I dispose of engine oil?

If neither method of application is of interest, and the volume of accumulated oil becomes threatening, at least for the sake of useful space in the garage with the waste must be parted, of course legally, by transferring to a specialized point of reception, which is engaged in buying up the used oil.

These organizations often cooperate with the car services, buying up oil from them in bulk, but some are willing to buy oil from individuals.

There are a lot of companies of this kind having an appropriate license. They all provide services for transportation, so there is no need to worry about how to remove the oil.

This method is not only legal, but also profitable – for any, even a small amount of waste, you can get money.

Unfortunately not every region has legal entities willing to buy used oil in small quantities. In this case, you need to look for resellers – private individuals who do not mind buying used oil, and then sell it in bulk to such companies. Find proposals for the purchase of oil at various online sites is not difficult – you can, for example, search on Avito.

At the salvage points the used oil is subjected to recycling – processing, in the result of which a new product with the specified properties is received.

The waste that cannot be recovered is sent to other production sites, where it is used as fuel or as a raw material for the production of lubricants or material for the road pavement.

Useful Videos

Here is a video clip, which tells what is made of engine oil, drained from the engine, and what it is used for:

And another video story with information on how you can use used engine oil and what you can do with it:

To summarize.

There are a lot of positive and negative attributes attributed to used oil. Make a conclusion about the usefulness of reuse, assess the situation.

There are many ways to use the petroleum product in a useful way. The main thing – the maximum safety, without harm to the environment and risk to health.

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