Your Water, “An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure”
Everyone has probably heard “An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure,” but have you heard "just one gallon of used oil can make a million gallons of fresh water undrinkable?"
That is something the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency would like everyone to consider. With warmer temperatures and Spring cleaning around the house and on the garage higher on everyone’s “to do” list properly disposing of used motor oil might be a critical environmental green decision for many homeowners.
Even in small amounts, oil can form a sheen over natural water reservoirs, keeping oxygen from entering the water and making it hard for plants to survive. This creates a negative effect on the surrounding ecosystem. Knowing how to properly dispose of used motor oil can help keep Illinois clean.
No one can blame anyone for wanting to be thrifty in this economy, but sometimes being “pennywise can be pound foolish,” and leaving an oil change up to the experts might mean saving time and distress on the local landscape.
When you change the motor oil and filter in your car at home, dealing with the mess can be a serious hassle. After you finish changing your oil, you're left to deal with an oil-slicked plastic container (Or 4 oil-slicked plastic containers if you used quarts instead of a gallon jug) and an oil filled filter. The plastic on these containers typically sports a No. 7 recycling symbol on the bottom of the jug, so few cities will allow you to put the container out with the rest of your cans and bottles. Even after draining, a used oil filter can contain 2 to 8 ounces of residual used oil. Over 400 million oil filters are used in the United States every year. Therefore landfilling of 6.25 to 25 million gallons of used oil in the filters could occur annually.
Used motor oil may contain a number of contaminants, including metals and organic chemicals. Proper management of used oil is important to help prevent contamination of surface water and groundwater.
It takes only one pint of oil to produce a one acre slick on surface water, which may kill plants, fish and other wildlife. One quart of oil may contaminate 250,000 gallons of groundwater and make it unsafe to drink. DIY used motor oil should not be disposed of in the trash or on the ground where it may eventually contaminate drinking water supplies. It should not be spread on roads or driveways or poured down storm sewers where it may be carried to lakes and streams.
Top Tips for Changing Your Own Oil From the Pros.
· After performing an oil change, you should carefully pour the used oil into a suitable recycling container. You may purchase specially designed containers at an automotive store, or you may reuse a sturdy, clean, preferably clear, container with a closeable lid.
· Do not use containers that previously contained household chemicals such as bleach. Plastic milk jugs with screw caps work well.
· Label the container “Used Oil.” Do not mix any other wastes such as paint thinners, gasoline or antifreeze with the used oil. This will affect the recyclability of the oil and may present a safety hazard.
· Filled containers should be carefully transported to a collection center for proper recycling.
Properly disposing of used motor oil can have a significant positive effect on the surrounding ecosystem. Knowing how to properly dispose of used motor oil can help keep Illinois clean. Wauconda Car Care's Scott Stetz adds, “ To helps do it yourfel oil changers, as a favor to area residents and the environment that his retail oil change outlet do accept used motor oil, oil filters and old car batteries...during normal business hours.