Used Motor Oil Recycling

DIY Recycle Used Oil

Thousands of do-it-yourselfers (DIYers) in South Carolina change their own oil in their cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, recreation vehicles and lawnmowers. If you are one of them, you need to know that the used oil must be recycled. It’s the law.

Used motor oil can contain hazardous substances such as heavy metals to pose potential risk to the environment. If illegally and improperly disposed of – dumped on the ground, in a septic tank or down a storm drain – used oil can contaminate South Carolina’s lakes, rivers and ground water. 
If recycled, used oil is a valuable resource. Oil never wears out – it just gets dirty. Used oil can be re-refined into new products or to a lesser extent used in power plants to generate electricity.

Where Can I Recycle Used Oil?

It is simple and convenient for do-it-yourself (DIY) oil changers to recycle used motor oil in South Carolina. Local governments and participating retailers offer more than 900 collection sites throughout the state for residents – not businesses. Most local government programs accept oil filters while many also accept oil bottles. 

County and municipal governments provide more than 550 used motor oil collection sites for DIYers (including farmers). To find the location nearest you, please visit Recycle Here SC.

Retailers offer 400 additional used oil recycling locations for DIYers (at no charge). Participating retailers include Advance Auto Parts, Auto Zone, NAPA Auto Parts, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Pep Boys, Walmart and Jiffy Lube. To find the location nearest you, please visit Residents are encouraged to call ahead to ensure the location is a participating retailer.

Changing it yourself? Do it right! 

If you change the oil in your own vehicle, be certain to work carefully and take the necessary steps to do it right from start to finish – recycling the oil at collection center. Here are a few tips for do-it-yourselfer (DIYers) for a clean oil change that prevents pollution and turns a waste into a valuable product that conserves energy.         

•    Drain your oil into a clean, leak-proof container.
•    Make sure the cap is tightly sealed and store in a cool, dry place away from heat, sunlight, children and pets.
•    Do not mix other fluids – including water – with your used oil. Adding fluids makes the used oil unsuitable for recycling. 
•    When ready, take it to the collection center. Carefully pour your oil into the tank to avoid spills. 
•    Most local government collection centers and retail locations accept a maximum 5 gallons of used oil per trip.   
•    Some local government locations accept oil/gasoline mixtures in a separate tank.
•    Visit Recycle Here SC for the location nearest you.   

New to changing your own oil?

This fact sheet provides basic steps.

DIY: How to Recycle Used Motor Oil

Don’t Forget the Filter!

Used oil filters – with limited exception – are banned from landfills and must be recycled. Filters contain oil – which can be recycled – and are made mostly from steel and can be converted into appliances, cans, cars and more. Here a couple of tips on properly managing your filters.   

•    Filters can hold as much as 10 ounces of oil. When changing the filter, DIYers should place the end of the filter face down over the drain pan or storage container to allow the oil to drain. If possible, let it sit in this position for at least 12 hours.
•    Once drained, place the filter in a plastic bag. Most local government used oil collection centers accept filters. Many accept used oil bottles.