The ABCs of Motor Oil & Filter Disposal 

A man prepares a used oil filter for disposal

If you want to be your own DIY mechanic for routine vehicle maintenance at home, you will need to know the ABCs of proper automotive fluid, oil and filter recycling. Free your One Big Bin from spoil with safe disposal of your motor oil.


Automotive fluids and parts such as motor oil, oil filters, anti-freeze, transmission fluids, degreasers and solvents are all HHW (household hazardous waste). When tossed in your bin with your trash and recyclables, auto fluids and filters spread their toxins unsafely into the environment and the essential workers who collect your waste.


HHW never belongs in your One Big Bin, and since fluids like motor oil cannot be poured down any drains, they need to be recycled properly. So, what may have seemed like the end of the line for your motor oil can just be a pitstop.


Recycled motor oil can be refined into new oil, processed into fuel and used as raw materials. This re-refined oil is energy efficient and requires far less power and resources to produce than new. It is also quickly right back in service fueling fleets vehicles such as the United States Postal Service and National Park Service


Used motor oil filters also contain steel that can be recovered and used again. This recycled steel can go on to be used as construction materials for new buildings, bridges, and cars. If every oil filter sold annually in the U.S. was recycled and recovered, it would result in approximately 160,000 tons of steel. That is enough steel to make 16 new NFL-sized football stadiums.


With all those recycling perks, you might be running out to your driveway to pop your hood, but before you pop open your vehicle’s hood at home for a DIY oil change, make sure to learn about the ABCs of motor oil and filter disposal.


A: Assemble your gear!

Ensure that you have all the proper materials to keep your automotive fluids in their proper place as you change your oil. You will need tools such as an oil pan/catcher and rag to contain the mess and be ready for disposal.


B: Better sealed than sorry!

When disposed, motor oil and filters need to be safely sealed to prevent hazardous spills. Place used motor oil in a container with a tightly sealed lid such as an old milk jug or the bottle your new oil came in. If you want to be extra safe about spillage, you can put the oil-filled container inside a plastic bag for transporting. Used oil filters must always be placed in a large plastic bag that is securely zipped tight.


C: Choose curbside pickup or carry it in for drop-off.

Now it is time to dispose! Choose between curbside pickup at your residence (if it is available) or drop-off your used motor oil and filter at one our of convenient locations.


Placer Recycles offers free curbside pickup of motor oil and filters for certain areas, partners with auto part stores across the county for free drop-off, and always accepts your used motor oil and filter at our HHW facilities.