How to Recycle Motor Oil & Filters

Fun fact: Earth911 originally started as a nationwide directory for where to recycle motor oil and filters, so we think recycling these products is pretty important.

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Why Recycle Motor Oil & Filters

  • According to the EPA, the used oil from one DIY oil change can contaminate 1 million gallons of water if dumped into a storm drain.
  • Motor oil gets dirty while powering your engine, but these elements can be removed infinitely when oil is re-refined.
  • It requires less energy to make a gallon of re-refined oil than crude oil, and a gallon of used oil offers 2.5 quarts of lubricating oil, equal to 42 gallons of crude oil.
  • Oil filters are comprised mostly of steel, which is the most commonly recycled material in the world.

Motor Oil  & Filter Recycling Preparation

  1. When draining motor oil from your car or other vehicles, make sure to put a container underneath to collect all oil. You may also want to put a sheet or tarp under the container.
  2. Use a secure container for collecting motor oil with a top that seals.
  3. Do not mix in any other car fluids like antifreeze or brake fluid.
  4. If you’re collecting oil over time, note that most facilities will not accept more than 5 gallons at one time.
  5. Use a screwdriver to puncture the dome of your used oil filter, then turn it upside down and let it drain into the motor oil container overnight.
  6. Put your oil filter in a plastic bag once it is fully drained.
  7. Take your oil and filter to a collection center for recycling.

Find a drop-off location for motor oil and filters near you using the Recycling Locator.

Find Recycling Guides for Other Materials


Frequent Used Motor Oil & Filters Recycling Questions

Additional Reading