Recycling Used Oil: Reusing Precious Resources

Gas filling up the car gas tank

The rising demand for oil and the challenge to meet the need are two topics that are constantly debated in every country. Growth and development depend on the availability and price of this resource. The focus is now shifting slowly to how one can recycle used oil and sustain supplies for longer.

How New Zealand does it

Waste Petroleum Combustion Limited agrees that every country, including New Zealand, has a program in place to manage the collection and recycling of used oil. ROSE or Recovering Oil Saves the Environment is a program that encourages consumers to bring used motor oil and other waste oil to processing facilities. The purpose of the program is to reuse this oil after processing and prevent improper disposal and environmental contamination.

Each region across the country has set recycling centres where oil can be brought in containers and left for safe disposal. This oil is then made available after processing to consenting users.

Terminology used in the used oil recycling business

  • Waste oil: This comes from sources, such as automobiles, electricity generating stations, manufacturers, DIYers, auto shops, HVAC contractors and mining companies.
  • Generators: These are businesses that generate used oil.
  • Transporters: These are organisations that collect used oil and take it to a storage facility.
  • Storage/Transfer facilities: These are the places where they store oil before sending it off to the processor.
  • Processors: These are commercial and licensed operators who use chemicals and set processes to turn used oil into lubricants and other products.

Why recycling used oil is essential

According to unofficial records, over 250 million gallons of used oil is wasted and not properly disposed of in the U.S. alone. Only 14% of used oil is processed for further use. Nearly 75% of recycled used oil is used in incinerators, manufacturing facilities and even power plants.

Given such statistics, there is a tremendous potential in recycling used oil for future use. Not only that, with the availability of new technologies, there is a big possibility that waste oil can save money and the environment, too.