How to recycle engine or machine oil
Why should you recycle your used engine oil?
Because of its properties, engine oil doesn’t wear out, it just gets dirty. When it’s used, the oil picks up dirt or contaminants from the machines it’s used in. Over time, this will reduce how effective the oil is. If the oil is cleaned and recycled, it can be used again and again. This is a great way to save resources and reduce the amount of crude oil that needs to be extracted to make new oil.
In addition to this, oil waste is a type of hazardous waste. If it’s not disposed of and recycled correctly, it can pollute waterways and the environment because of the potentially toxic chemicals in it. Engine oil is insoluble and slow to degrade, so will stay in the environment for a long time. Over time, this can lead to toxins contaminating the ground and polluting drinking water sources for humans and animals, causing negative health effects.
How is engine and machine oil waste recycled?
The process used to recycle used engine and machine oil essentially cleans the oil of any contaminants. The first stage is for the oil to be ‘dewatered’; this is when the used oil is placed in a large settling tank. This separates the water and oil so that the water can then be extracted and removed. The oil is then ‘filtered’ in which any inorganic materials and solids are filtered out. This is then demineralised to ensure that the left-over material is cleaner for more refining. It will then go through ‘propane de-asphalting’ where heavier bituminous fractions are extracted to create a clean re-refined base oil. The final stage in the process is ‘distilling’. This is when the oil is boiled. This separates different components left in the oil, creating a re-refined oil that can then be reused.
What can recycled engine and machine oil be used for?
The oil left over from the cleaning and re-refining process can have many different uses. For example, it could be used as industrial burner oil or an additive in manufactured products. It can also be used as a re-refined base oil for a lubricant transformer or hydraulic oil. Your used engine and machine oil can be used again and again after going through the cleaning process to save on precious resources. The process of cleaning the oil also brings out any metals it may have collected while it was being used. This material can be recycled too to make new materials.
What should you do with your engine or machine oil waste?
Engine and machine oil should be stored in an appropriate container until it is collected to ensure for everyone’s safety. Do not pour oil waste into drains or land as this can pollute the environment. Instead, when you’re ready for your oil waste to be collected, you should organise for a licenced waste carrier, like Flame UK, to collect your oil waste. When you do this, you’ll receive a hazardous waste consignment note to prove that you’ve complied with your Duty of Care and ensured that your waste is being treated correctly and safely. Once you’ve done this, we’ll organise for your waste engine and machine oil to be recycled correctly, so it doesn’t end up polluting landfills.