It doesn’t matter if you’re debating the environmental effects of oil drilling or discussing the country’s need for oil independence: the oil issue will always be a heated subject in both environmental and political forums. Despite the spotlight on crude oil, however, the fate of petroleum-based lubricants and other ordinary engine oils is largely ignored.
The use of several tools and gadgets, moving lawns, driving cars and greasing noisy wheels, generates thousands of gallons of wasted oil every day. Experts advise better recycling procedures, like hiring vacuum trucks to clean, collect, and dispose of waste oil. And they make a good point. We stand to gain much from recycling oil:
- The correct disposal or recycling of oil lowers the potential of polluting both waterways and dry land. In fact, according to the EPA, used oil can seep into waterways and even just a gallon spilled can contaminate a million gallons of water.
- Recycling only a couple of gallons of wasted oil can generate sufficient electricity to power a regular home for about 24 hours. The amount of used oil the is regularly disposed of could generate ample energy to run 360,000 households every year. It could even be recycled into 96 million quarts of premium quality motor oil.
- Refining used oil again takes only a third of the energy needed to refine crude oil and produce quality lubricants. For instance, refiners need 42 gallons of crude oil to produce 2.5 quarts of premium quality lubricant oil. On the other hand, a gallon of used oil can generate the exact quantity of finished product. It, therefore, makes more sense to implement efficient recycling practices.
The issue of how to deal with waste oil is particularly important because it is a non-renewable resource. The benefits of oil recycling listed above should help convince industries to make a conscious effort to lessen their carbon footprint through better oil recovery measures.