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Oil Recycling Why We Should Do It

Oct 22, 2007
Oil is made from crude oil, a valuable natural resource that is highly sought after. Oil is also a very serious pollutant so it is absolutely essential that any waste oil from the likes of car or boat engines or oil fired central heating systems for example, is disposed of in the proper manner. Despite awareness campaigns and legislation, many irresponsible people are still pouring waste oil down drains or dumping it on the roadside, which is not only illegal, it will contaminate the earth and water it comes into contact with.

Nearly all oil that is poured down a drain will find its way into rivers, streams and ultimately the sea and have a devastating effect on the environment and wildlife. Similarly if it is poured onto the ground it can find its way into the groundwater beneath.

Why recycle your waste engine oil?

Oil can be recycled and reused which helps preserve the earths natural resources for future generations
Recycling waste oil saves energy and money
Recycling oil helps protect the ground from pollution. If waste oil enters into the ground it contaminates the soil and kills off bacteria, micro organisms and earthworms, basically everything that is required to regenerate the soil
Even a tiny amount of oil is harmful to water, for example only 1 litre of oil can pollute literally millions of litres of water and kills fish, birds and other creatures. It is also an extremely costly exercise to clean up
Burning the oil is not the solution either as burning oil causes air pollution and is of course illegal too without the proper facilities and authorisations

When you have waste oil, store the oil in sealed containers and dont mix it with any other substances like paint or solvents as this can cause problems and make it very difficult to recycle. Storing it in containers also helps prevent accidental spillage. If you do accidentally spill oil, absorb smaller spillages with sand or another absorbent material like sawdust and dispose of the solid waste in an oil bank. Do not hose spilled oil away with water. For larger spills, contact the environmental agency or your local environmental health department immediately.

Where can you recycle your waste oil?

The Environmental Agency has established an oil care campaign to promote environmentally friendly disposal of waste oil, which basically means recycling it. Waste engine oil can be recycled in any of the oil banks situated across the country.

What happens to recycled oil?

When waste oil is taken for recycling, it is emptied into tanks and processed to filter out any unwanted elements or particles. The oil can then be reused in power stations, furnaces, boilers, cement and lime kilns and heaters as an alternative source of fuel. It might also be laundered, which means it is cleaned up and sent back to the supplier for reusing, or it can be refined to produce new oil.

What about cooking oil?

Oil banks are not for used cooking oil. Large amounts of used cooking oil from factories, restaurants and food outlets can be recycled so contact your local authority for details on what facilities are available for disposing of waste cooking oil in your area. Recycled cooking oil can be refined and used to make detergents or converted into bio fuels and some organisations will collect the waste free of charge or will buy it from you.

At home, small amounts of cooking oil can be disposed of along with household rubbish but make sure it is cooled first. It is important not to dispose of used cooking oil down the sink as it can cause problems and blockages when it solidifies. Some local authorities have facilities for collecting and recycling used cooking oil from domestic sources, contact your local authority to find out if this applies in your area.

Our duty

Under The Environmental Protection Act 1990, there is a Duty of Care placed on all industry producers of waste oil to ensure that all reasonable steps are taken to look after any waste generated and prevent its illegal disposal by others. On an individual basis, we all have a moral as well as a legal obligation to protect the earth and our environment from unnecessary contamination of any kind and as such, it is vital that we dispose of our oil in an environmentally friendly way.
About the Author
Simon jones is an expert in recycling. For more information about recycling and skip hire please come and visit http://www.valueskiphire.co.uk
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