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Green Right Now: Oil Recycling

Many do-it-yourselfers change the oil in their vehicles. If that's something you're interested in getting involved with or already doing, it's important to know how to properly get rid of the used fluid.
Many do-it-yourselfers change the oil in their vehicles. If that's something you're interested in getting involved with or already doing, it's important to know how to properly get rid of the used fluid.

If you have a little time, know-how and don't mind getting dirty, then changing the oil isn't so bad.

After making sure the old oil doesn't spill all over the ground, it needs to be recycled.

"When you're talking about automotive fluids, there's a huge impact potentially on the environment if they're not handled correctly, if there not disposed of properly," said Debra Smith, Broome County materials recovery manager Debra Smith. 

Smith also said oil and other fluids should never be put down storm drains or dumped in a field.

"One of the things that New York State has in place is that any kind of service station that provides oil changes is required by law to take back waste oil. In addition to those locations, the county landfill accepts it for free. We also take, for free, oil filters and anti-freeze," she said.

The Broome County Landfill accepts the oil for free during normal business hours.

The landfill also accepts mixtures of oil and water or oil and gas during its designated hazardous waste recycling days for free. Those mixtures can be dropped off anytime, but there's a five dollar fee.

There's a broadening market now for used or recycled oil.

"For instance, our waste oil goes out to a private company. They refine the oil and then it gets reused. In some cases, some dealerships or other locations may take back the waste oil and may have something called a waste oil heater, and as long as that oil is not contaminated with water, gas, or other fluids, they can use it in there. Therefore it gets used as a heating source," said Smith.

You can drop oil off for free at service stations that do oil changes. If their used oil tanks are full and they can't accept any that day, they need to have a sign up stating so.

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