The answer? Up to one million gallons of water. Isn’t that disturbing? We think so. Learn how you can responsibly dispose of motor oil and paints this month.
Both paint and oil can be recycled at hazardous waste disposal centers. Household paints and automotive oils are considered Household Hazardous Waste by the EPA, but by taking a few extra steps, you can help keep our water sources and soil clean.
It’s estimated that Americans discard as much as 69 million gallons of paint and 500 million gallons of motor oil each year improperly. Liquid hazards can seep into the soil in a landfill, and can eventually enter the water stream for drinking water.
How to Recycle Latex and Oil-based Paint
Latex and oil-based paints must be recycled separately, so just make sure not to mix them together. Also, if possible, the paints should be in their original containers, or at least clearly labeled for identification.
For latex paint, remove the lid from the can and allow the paint to dry out and harden completely. (Paint hardener can also be purchased at your local hardware store, and kitty litter will also dry out paint quickly, if you’re in a rush.) Test the paint to see if it is dry by pushing a screwdriver into the can. Once the paint has dried completely, it is ready to be recycled. Oil-based paint will need to be taken to a hazardous waste recycling center in your area.
In some states, leftover paint that is prepared this way and placed in garbage bins is automatically recycled. In other states, it’s necessary to take the paint and containers to a recycling facility. Contact a local household hazardous waste (HHW) representative to learn the regulations.
How to Recycle Motor Oil
Used motor oil can be disposed of at Advance Auto Parts, AutoZone, or Wal-Mart SuperCenter Tire and Lube Centers, and is often limited to 3 gallons or less. Some of these companies also accept used oil filters. For ease of disposal, transfer used motor oil using a funnel to prevent spills to a clean, leak-proof plastic container with a screw-on top and put the top on firmly to prevent leaking or spilling.
Never dispose of used motor oil on the ground, in a water source (ditch, creek, river, or lake), in a storm sewer, or in the garbage. Also take care not to mix used motor oil with anything else, like gasoline, solvents, antifreeze, or pesticides.
Disposing of Used Oil Filters
Prior to discarding used oil filter, punch an air hole in the dome end of the filter and in the anti-drain back valve (if present), located at the flat end of the filter. Allow oil to drain from both ends of the filter for several hours each. Pour this oil in with the rest of the used motor oil for recycling.
Did you learn something new today? Share with us on Facebook and Twitter using #RecycleGuide and share how you’re going to make changes in the way you recycle paint and oil.
Oil Can Photo Credit: Don Harder
Paint Can Photo Credit: m01229