Motor oil contains various chemicals that can be hazardous if not disposed of properly. These include solvents, acids, and the carcinogenic heavy metals lead and benzene. Poor disposal of motor oil is one of the leading causes of pollution, primarily due to the release of toxic chemicals into nearby streams. The heavy metals in motor oil also harm marine life and birds.
1. Sealed Storage Containers
The easiest way to dispose of motor oil is to purchase a sealed storage container. These containers are designed for storing chemicals in industrial settings. They are generally made of recycled plastic. The containers have a seal that prevents any toxic chemicals from leaking out. When purchasing, buy a larger one than necessary to accommodate additional oil. After transporting it home, pour the motor oil into the storage container. The used motor oil should then be stored in a dry place and away from direct sunlight. The container should be at least 20 feet from surface water or groundwater sources. To prevent leaks, the container should be covered when not in use.
Recycling is an excellent alternative to disposal. If the amount of motor oil does not exceed a small container, it can be stored nearby for future use. You may need it again for your car or other machines. Synthetic oils can be reused as mineral oil and used for many purposes. Motor oils can also be used as feedstock to produce biofuels. These biofuels are biodegradable, eco-friendly, non-toxic, and carbon-neutral. They can also be burned in stoves or fires. Many people try to avoid recycling because they don’t want to be bothered by the inconvenience of transporting it. If you can find a local enterprise that collects and recycles motor oil, using them might be a good idea. They will take care of transporting and disposing of the oil properly and may even pay you for it.
3. Disposal at a Hazardous Waste Facility
In many states, disposal sites for motor oil are available for businesses and residences. These sites are relatively inexpensive and are available throughout the country. Motor oil should be poured into these barrels and taken to a landfill or incinerator to be properly disposed of. Hazardous waste facilities are designed for handling dangerous chemicals. The facilities have prearranged plans for safely disposing of toxic waste. Most hazardous waste facilities accept oils and fuels. The drum should be marked as containing hazardous materials so that it is handled and disposed of with care. As with recycling, finding a local hazardous waste facility might be challenging. However, many cities are building these facilities. One way to find them is to contact your local EPA office, city government, or waste management department for more information on a nearby hazardous waste facility.
Do not pour motor oil onto the ground, storm drains, or waterways, as it can pollute groundwater and nearby ponds or streams. A sustainable future begins with the present. Proper waste disposal is one of the first steps in achieving this. Having a waste management strategy is key.