California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

Used Oil Recycling Program

Frequently Asked Questions by Used Oil Certified Collection Centers

Q: How do I apply to become a Used Oil Certified Collection Center (CCC)?

A: First, you must contact the State of California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and apply for the required EPA Hazardous Waste ID Number.

Second, download the application (CalRecycle 29) from the Used Oil forms page. Mail the complete form to:

Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)
Used Oil Recycling Program
Attn: Certification
1001 I Street, MS 9-A
Sacramento, CA 95814

For questions, please call (916) 341-6690.

Q: What are some of my responsibilities as an operator of a CCC?

A: As a CCC operator, there are only a few requirements for participating in the program:

  • Signage: You must display the blue and gold oil drop sign so it is visible from the street. If you also accept used oil filters, a “combo sign” is available. Both signs are offered in window cling, hard plastic, and aluminum. Signs are free of charge and are available in English and Spanish. You can order them using our Sign Request Form.

  • Accept used motor oil from the public for free during normal business hours. You can set the amount you will accept from any one person within the following limits: You must accept at least 5 gallons per person per day and not more than 55 gallons per person per day. You are strongly urged to accept filters since Do-It-Yourselfers (DIYers) need to be able to legally dispose of these as well.

  • Incentives: If asked, you must give DIYers 40 cents for each gallon of used motor oil brought to you. As an alternative, you can offer a coupon to your business with a value of at least double this amount.

  • Contaminated Oil: Know where to refer DIYers who bring contaminated used oil. Generally, this means sending them to a local household hazardous waste facility. Please make this information available to your staff.

  • Certificate: Keep your Certified Collection Center certificate on file and maintain records of incentive claim forms, oil manifests, and used oil collection logs (when applicable) for at least three years.

For a full list of responsibilities, see the CCC program home page, which summarizes and links to the Operator's Guide.

Q: Once my business becomes an approved CCC, how will the public find my business, resulting in an increase of customer traffic to my store?

A: If the public searches the web for Used Oil Recycling Centers, search engines will direct users to CalRecycle's Used Oil CCC search tool where they can locate a store near them by entering their ZIP code, city, or county.

Q: How do I handle used oil filters?

A: There are two main categories of used oil filters: filters that have metal housing and “cartridge” filters that do not have metal housing. Cartridge filters must be handled as hazardous waste, while metal filters may be properly drained and sent to a filter recycler. For more details on the rules regarding the handling of used oil filters, please refer to the Department of Toxic Substances Control’s advisory letter on the draining of used oil filters.

Q: How can I add to CalRecycle's website that my business collects used oil filters from the public?

A: Notify CalRecycle by email at UsedOilCCC@CalRecycle.ca.gov to add filter collection to your business profile. Please reference in the email the CalRecycle certification number, the street address, and your name and phone number.

Q: How does motor oil become contaminated?

A: Used motor oil is considered contaminated if antifreeze, gasoline, diesel fuels, brake fluid, power steering fluid, solvents, paints, varnishes, or other household or toxic chemicals are mixed in. Used motor oil that has been sitting outside in an open container collecting water and debris may also be contaminated.

Q: How do I deal with contaminated (“Hot”) used motor oil?

A: It is important to screen used oil visually or use a test kit if you are unsure if the oil is contaminated. CCCs are not required to accept contaminated used oil and should direct individuals with contaminated oil to an appropriate hazardous waste facility to manage it. You can locate your local hazardous waste facility through your county’s environmental health department. If you discover that someone has abandoned used motor oil outside your site’s property, and you are uncertain whether it is contaminated, you can place the containers in a separate 55-gallon drum so that it does not risk contaminating your main used oil tank. CalRecycle’s contaminated oil reimbursement program may be able to cover the testing, cleanup, and disposal costs associated with a contaminated oil incident. Oil Payment Program funds may be used to pay for testing of used oil, but they cannot be used for clean up or disposal.

If your hauler picks up contaminated used oil, you can file a claim with CalRecycle. CalRecycle will only reimburse contamination from halogens up to $5,000 of the actual cleanup costs. PCB contamination is not subject to that limit, but all contaminated oil reimbursements are limited to the funding available in each fiscal year.

See Procedures to Prevent the Acceptance of Contaminated Used Motor Oil from the Public.

Q: What if I find used oil abandoned at my premises during non-business hours?

A: Your employees should inspect the used oil for contamination as described. If the used oil is not contaminated, it may be added to previously collected used oil. Drained plastic containers may be recycled.

Q: What do I do with empty used oil containers?

A: Contact your local public works recycling coordinator to obtain information about collection and recycling of the empty containers.

Q: My tank is old and I may need a new one soon. Could I get reimbursed for the cost of a new used oil storage tank?

A: Many local governments receive funding from the used oil payment program, which may be used for costs related to used oil collection. For example, the purchase of new used oil storage tanks for CCCs is an eligible cost. To check if the jurisdiction near you has oil payment program funding available for a storage tank, contact your local coordinator or a CalRecycle Program Advisor.

Q: How do I cancel my certification?

A: You may send an email to CalRecycle at UsedOilCCC@CalRecycle.ca.gov to cancel your certification. Include the site’s certification number (shown on the certificate), full address, and the date the site needs to be decertified.

Q: As the operator of a CCC, will there ever be an occasion when I will need to submit a new application?

A: Yes. The CCC operator must file a new application with CalRecycle when any of the following occurs:

  • A change in the location of the CCC.

  • A change in the operator of the CCC.

  • Expiration of the certificate.

  • Ownership change (certificates are not transferrable).

Q: How long does it take to receive my incentive payment?

A: The reimbursement process takes 8-10 weeks from the receipt of an incentive claim with no errors. Claims with discrepancies will take longer.

Q: How do I submit the incentive payment package so I can prevent a delay in receiving the incentive payment?

A: Please follow the steps below for single and multiple claims:

Single Claims

  • Completed and Signed Claim Form (CalRecycle 31).
  • Manifests in date order for the quarter that they are claiming.

Multiple Claims

  • Completed and Signed Claim Form (CalRecycle 31).
  • Completed Attachment for Operators of Multiple Used Oil Collection Centers (CalRecycle 31B).
  • Manifests in date order for the quarter that they are claiming.

For additional information, visit Filing for the Used Oil Incentive Payment.

Certified Collection Center Home

Last updated: April 26, 2017
Used Oil Recycling Program, http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/UsedOil/
Contact: UsedOilHHW@calrecycle.ca.gov (916) 341-6457