California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)

Used Oil Recycling Program

Recycling/Disposal of Used Oil

Did you know that used motor oil never wears out? It just gets dirty and can be recycled, cleaned, and used again. Recycling used motor oil conserves a natural resource (oil) and is good for the environment too! Motor oil poured onto the ground or into storm drains, or tossed into trash cans (even in a sealed container) can contaminate and pollute the soil, groundwater, streams, and rivers (and it's illegal!). Recycling your used motor oil reduces this pollution threat. When you take your used oil to a certified center for recycling, you are protecting the environment, conserving a valuable resource, and getting paid for it. That's a winning combination!

So how do you do the responsible thing and recycle your oil?

General Public/Do-It-Yourselfer: You can take your oil to a certified collection center (CCC). Many communities have curbside recycling programs that allow you to leave your oil at the curb (properly packaged). Or you can have your oil changed by a service station that recycles the oil for you. More information for do-it-yourselfers.

Businesses: Businesses that generate small quantities of used oil can use the same options that the general public uses. Certified collection centers may set a maximum daily limit of 5 gallons of used oil per person per day. If the CCC has the tank capacity, they may set a daily limit up to 55 gallons per person per day. With large quantities of used oil, it is recommended to call a CCC in advance. If you purchase/use larger quantities, you may qualify to register as an industrial generator. You will need to have your used oil picked up by a certified hauler.

Growers/Ranchers: Growers and ranchers have the same options as other businesses and the general public. They may also drop off (at no charge) up to 55 gallons of used oil at specific participating collection centers.

Certified haulers take the oil from the collection centers or generators to a recycling facility.

About the Certified Centers

CalRecycle encourages the recycling of used motor oil by certifying used oil recycling collection centers throughout the state. Certified Used Oil Collection Centers will take used motor oil from the public and will pay you 40¢ a gallon. Most centers will take up to 5 gallons at a time.

What About Contaminated Oil?

Certified center managers will not accept used motor oil that has been contaminated with other fluids such as antifreeze, solvents, gasoline, or water. So please, don't mix your used oil with anything. However, if your used oil accidentally gets contaminated, your certified center manager can tell you where to take it for proper disposal. Alternatively, you can get information from your local government contact about how to deal with your suspected contaminated oil.

Public Service Announcements

3000 Mile Myth - (Windows Media Audio: 32 Kbps, 30 seconds | Script), (2008) More information...

How often do you think your car needs an oil change? (2013) - Windows Media Video, 1.12 Mbps, 30 seconds | YouTube | Script (PDF, 147 KB)

Used Oil Recycling (2007)

Do you change your own oil?

If so, please make sure to recycle your used oil and oil filters to help keep California safe and pollution-free. Use an interactive form on our site to find out where you can recycle your used oil and oil filters, How often should you change your oil filter and oil? Most car makers no longer recommend every 3,000 miles. Many suggest 7,500 miles or more! Visit our Check Your Number site for more information about how often you should change your vehicle’s oil!
(Windows Media Video, 1.12 Mbps | You Tube. 30 seconds) Script (PDF, 61 KB) (2012)

Last updated: January 8, 2013
Used Oil Recycling Program, http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/UsedOil/
Contact: UsedOilHHW@calrecycle.ca.gov (916) 341-6457