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Impacts of used motor oil on the environment 

Motor oil is a synthetic lubricant and a manufactured product. At the end of its life, when it is drained from the engine and stored in a big drum (a lot of mechanics and garages use that), it is disposed of. However, not all garages recycle used motor oil, which can be a very dangerous pollutant, and for people who like to get their hands a little dirty and pull a DIY job, used motor oil disposal needs to be taken seriously as the impact of used motor oil on the environment is very concerning. So, in this blog, we’ll be discussing the effects of used motor oil on the environment and why it is absolutely crucial that recycling used motor oil be made a more prevalent practice. 

Let us first look at the properties of motor oil that make it dangerous for the environment, and then we’ll move on to recycling and disposing of used motor oil. 

Why is motor oil so dangerous for the environment?

As it is a synthetic lubricant, motor oil, when disposed of improperly, threatens the environment. Here’s why,

  • Motor oil contains heavy metals and toxic chemicals that can easily pollute and adulterate water bodies and other natural habitats of wild animals if not disposed of properly. 
  • Motor oil does not break down and cannot be dumped into landfills. Instead, used motor oil can seep into underground water bodies, polluting them. 
  • Used motor oil can also affect wildlife, especially birds, whose feathers are adversely affected by used motor oil. Aside from rendering their flight capability useless, it may also affect their health as used motor oil is loaded with carcinogens or cancer-causing agents. 
  • Its toxic chemicals and heavy metals will also affect greenery. 
  • Used motor oil can be burned, but the fumes it releases are very toxic and harmful, which may make the surrounding air unbearable. 

The impacts of used motor oil on the environment 

If used motor oil isn’t disposed of properly, the effects it can have on the environment are disastrous. Let’s take a deeper dive into the impacts used motor oil can have. 

Water

One of the very destructive effects of used motor oil is when it is dumped in water, which is unfortunately common. According to research, used motor oil is incredibly dangerous for water bodies since only a liter of used motor oil can contaminate a water body of more than a million liters. Similarly, if dumped in a freshwater source, the aquatic life also suffers, with fish and other creatures like coral reefs dying or experiencing adverse effects. 

Air

Burning motor oil might be a solution, but here’s the thing about synthetic materials: they don’t fare well for the environment when burnt, and humans and other creatures alike suffer. Since motor oils are made of synthetic materials, they include a lot of heavy metals and toxic chemicals, which, when burnt, let off even more dangerous and environmentally debilitating gases, which affect the ozone layer of our earth and pollute the air, making it difficult and harmful for people, animals to breathe. 

Earth

Landfills are a standard recycling solution, but only for organic matter, which decomposes and breaks down into smaller particles that the earth can absorb. However, complex compounds like motor oil don’t decompose and break down that easily, which makes throwing used motor oil in a dumpster or a landfill very dangerous. Since oil is liquid, it can very easily seep through the earth, penetrate it, and pollute underground water reserves, which, for regions already facing an acute water shortage, will make it more difficult to acquire sustainable water resources. 

Recycling used motor oil

Since disposal of used motor oil needs to be done very carefully and in controlled conditions, and since conservation is an important facet of our lives, recycling is the better option. Reusing motor oil for automotive applications is very feasible, and we will discuss just that and understand how used motor oil is better off recycled than dumped. 

Re-refined oil

Re-refined oil, as the name implies, is used motor oil repurposed and repackaged for use in the same application as before. It is simply a matter of removing the contaminants in the oil and making it dense enough to be used in automobiles and applications involving internal combustion engines. This has been done, to a huge degree of success, ensuring that instead of used motor oil is a health menace for humans and animals, re-refined oil can be sold back to the same enterprises and businesses using it, such as rental businesses and garage chains. This re-refined oil is equally capable as new oil. It can better solve the problem of disposing of used motor oil while at the same time decreasing our dependence on natural resources for the synthetization of new motor oil. 

As for accessories and other parts related to motor oil, like oil filters, these can also be recycled, as these filters contain metals and other useful substances that can be salvaged from used oil filters instead of being them in a manner that threatens the environment. 

Tips for proper storage and recycling of used motor oil

Here are some crucial tips you can keep in mind for used motor oil and how it can be properly disposed of or stored for later usage. 

Store it in a barrel

The most common storage method for used motor oil is a giant barrel that is emptied only a couple of times, and that too responsibly. If you can’t get a barrel, use any leak-proof plastic bottle that can store oil for extended periods. 

Use approved equipment for disposal

Used motor oil can be burned in controlled fires that emit only harmless smoke. These burners use special elements to contain the spread of contaminants from the oil and are used fairly commonly. However, since you don’t need a burner installed in your home, you can look into other clean and sustainable disposal methods to ensure your used motor oil does not affect the environment. 

Contact local authorities for oil disposal guidelines

Pouring used motor oil down the sink or into any other place not designed to handle motor oil won’t solve the problem. Luckily, governments worldwide have taken the initiative of easing access to disposal spots for used motor oil, and you can always contact your local authorities for more information on how you can safely dispose of the used motor oil. 

Magnum Autoclub: oil change services that revitalize your vehicle!

Motor oil is what runs the car and helps it perform efficiently. Only the best should be used for your car, and at Magnum Autoclub, we take pride in using only the best motor oil for all vehicles, whether SUVs, commercial vans, or just a little hatchback. Fall in love with your car again as Magnum Autoclub treats it to a higher standard of care and transforms it from a mode of transportation to a vehicle you adore and want to drive. 

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