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 also good for the environment.  Motor oil poured onto the ground, into storm drains, or tossed into trash cans (even in a sealed container) can contaminate and pollute the soil, groundwater, streams, and rivers. It’s also 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!

How to Recycle Used Motor Oil

General Public: 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. Visit our web page for more information.

Businesses: Businesses that generate small quantities of used oil can use the same options that the general public uses. Certified collection centers (CCC) 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 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 and 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 cents per gallon. Most centers will take up to five gallons at a time.

What About Contaminated Oil?

Certified used oil center managers will not accept used motor oil that has been contaminated with other fluids such as antifreeze, solvents, gasoline, or water. So please, do not mix your used oil with anything. However, if your used oil is 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 suspected contaminated oil.

Public Service Announcements

3000 Mile Myth: Audio (00:00:30) | Transcript (2008) More information…

How often do you think your car needs an oil change? YouTube (00:00:30) | Transcript (2013)

Used Oil Recycling (2007)

  • English (Used Oil Should Be Recycled): YouTube (00:00:32)
  • English (Used Oil Should Always Be Recycled): YouTube (0:26)
  • En Español (Recicle Aceite Usado): YouTube (00:0:26)

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 free of pollution. Use an interactive form on our site to find out where you can recycle your used oil and oil filters. Most car makers no longer recommend changing your oil every 3,000 miles. Many suggest 7,500 miles or more. Visit our  Check Your Number web page for more information about how often you should change your vehicle’s oil! YouTube (0:30) | Transcript (2012)

For more information contact: Certified Collection Center, or Household Hazardous Waste,