It only takes one drop of motor oil to contaminate an entire swimming pools worth of water. Motor oil is insoluble, persistent, and contains heavy metals and toxic chemicals such as lead, magnesium, copper, zinc, chromium, arsenic, chlorides, cadmium, and chlorinated compounds. Motor oil that is illegally dumped, thrown in to a trash can, or poured into a storm drains can pollute the soil and water. Properly recycled used motor oil can be cleaned and used again, ensuring that it doesn’t contaminate local waterways and pollute our environment. The steel from oil filters is easily recyclable and could be recycled into rebar in construction projects.

Where can I recycle motor oil and oil filters?

There are more than 250 certified collection centers in San Diego County that accept used motor oil and oil filters from the public for recycling year-round. Many auto parts store will accept motor oil and oil filters for free, but we recommend you call the store to ensure hours of operation and limitations. Find certified collection facilities near you:

Before you recycle oil filters:

 1. Turn the filter upside down so it can drain completely into your container for used oil recycling

2. Allow the filter to drain for about 24 hours to remove all the oil before placing in a plastic bag.

What if the motor oil is mixed with another liquid?

Remember to never mix motor oil with other liquids when changing the oil from your car. Motor oil is that is mixed with water or other liquids such as antifreeze, solvents, or gasoline is not accepted at certified collection facilities and should be taken to your local household hazardous waste collection facility.

Are the motor oil containers recyclable?

Yes, empty motor oil containers can be recycled in your recycling bin. Ensure that containers are completely empty before recycling and leave the cap on empty containers to avoid any leakage onto your other recyclables.

How often do you change your motor oil?

Don’t go by the sticker on the windshield or by what your service center suggests! Chances are good you don’t need an oil change as often as you think.  Less frequent oil changes means more money in your wallet. Some new vehicles can go as long as 15,000 miles before needing an oil change, usually with synthetic oil. Synthetic oil may cost a bit more up front, but it can save you money in the long-run.
Find the recommendation for your vehicle HERE – all you need is the year, make and model.


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