A New Day for Old Motor Oil

You can help protect the Earth for future generations by remembering to recycle used motor oil from your car, truck, motorcycle, boat, RV or lawnmower. Recycling used motor oil keeps it out of rivers, streams, lakes and landfills―and from ending up in ground water supplies and your drinking water.

Reasons to Recycle

Here are several smooth reasons to recycle your unwanted motor oil:

  • Motor oil contains toxic substances such as benzene, lead, zinc and cadmium that can harm people, animals and the planet.
  • One pint of oil can produce a one-acre oil slick.
  • One gallon of oil can ruin the taste of one million gallons of drinking water.

Fortunately, used motor oil can be reprocessed into fuel that can be used in furnaces for heat and in power plants to generate electricity for homes, schools and businesses. It can also be used in industrial and utility boilers, blended for marine fuels, and other uses. And, it can be re-refined into lubricating oils that meet the same API specifications as virgin motor oil.

Good Green Habits for Used Motor Oil

Here’s what to do with used motor oil to ensure oil is it is legally and safely recycled or discarded in your area:

  • Contact your garbage company. Many haulers now pro­vide oil jugs and collect used motor oil for their curbside customers. To get started, call your local garbage ser­vice and ask if used oil is picked up on service day. Some haulers will provide jugs for just this purpose.
  • Ask service stations and repair shops. Many types of automotive business will accept used motor oil and used oil filters.
  • Check with county or state government offices. They can provide locations for recycling centers in your area.
  • Visit earth911. Visit earth911.com to find oil collection centers by zip code.

ECO FACT Recycling two gallons of used motor oil can generate enough energy to run an average household for 24 hours. For more information, visit recycleoil.org.

Safer Medication Disposal Options

Wondering what to do with your collection of expired and unwanted pills after you clean out your medicine cabinet? 

Well, if you’ve got the feeling that you shouldn’t flush these prescription and over-the-counter drugs down the toilet or throw them in your garbage cart—your eco vibe is right on target. These items are considered household hazardous waste.

Improper medication disposal—pills, capsules, liquids—can definitely mess with the well-being of people, animals, and the environment. Drugs of all types can pollute soil and groundwater. 

And, since most wastewater treatment plants don’t remove man-made chemicals from medications, the chemicals in them can contaminate water supplies, including drinking water! Fortunately for the future of our planet, you’ve got green options. 

Good Green Habits for Medications

Take these steps to dispose of unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications to keep environment healthy:

  • Visit NoDrugsDownTheDrain.org for disposal locations.
  • Watch for advertised medication take-back events.
  • As a last resort, place them in your garbage cart* using these eco measures: 
    • Keep pills, capsules and liquid medications in original, non-breakable containers with tightly secured lids. 
    • Mark out personal information on medication containers. 
    • Pills and capsules in blister packs should be wrapped in several layers of durable tape.
    • Hide containers inside paper bags, boxes or plastic tubs. 
    • Place wrapped, concealed containers in garbage cart.

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