Did you know one gallon of motor oil can pollute 1 million gallons of water?
Household paints and automotive oils are considered Household Hazardous Waste by the EPA. It is estimated that Americans discard as much as 69 million gallons of paint and 500 million gallons of motor oil each year improperly. Liquid hazards can seep into the soil in a landfill, and can eventually enter the water stream for drinking water.
Both paint and oil can be recycled at hazardous waste disposal centers.
To recycle paint, separate it into two groups: latex paint and oil-based paint. Never mix the two kinds together because they have to be recycled separately. Also, if possible, the paints should be in their original containers, or at least clearly labeled for identification.
For latex paint, remove the lid from the can and allow the paint to dry out and harden completely. Push a screw driver into the paint to test whether any of it is still liquid. Once the paint has dried completely, it is ready to be recycled.
In some states, leftover paint that is prepared this way and placed in garbage bins is automatically recycled. In other states, it’s necessary to take the paint and containers to a recycling facility. Contact a local household hazardous waste (HHW) representative to learn the regulations.
- Never dispose of used motor oil: on the ground; in a ditch, creek, river, or lake; in a storm sewer; or in the garbage.
- Do not mix used motor oil with anything else, such as gasoline, solvents, antifreeze, pesticides, etc.
- Transfer used motor oil using a funnel to prevent spills to a clean leak-proof plastic container with a screw-on top and put the top on firmly to prevent leaking or spilling.
- Take used motor oil (limit quantities to 3 gallons or less) to Advance Auto Parts, AutoZone, Wal-Mart SuperCenter Tire and Lube Center, or other site that accepts used motor oil from the public.
- Prior to discarding used oil filter, punch an air hole in the dome end of the filter and in the antidrain back valve (if present) located at the flat end of the filter. Allow oil to drain from both ends of the filter for several hours each. Pour this oil in with the rest of the used motor oil for recycling. When taking the used motor oil to one of the listed recyclers, ask them if they’ll also accept used oil filter for recycling as well. Some of the companies not only take used motor oil, but also recycle used oil filters.