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Your Home Environment Resource - University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County

Reduce, Reuse, RECYCLE

Recycle That Used Oil!
submitted by Barb Ogg, PhD, Extension Educator

This article appears in the August 2002 NEBLINE Newsletter.

The Nebraska Used Oil Collection and Reuse Program promotes the recycling of oil. Used oil collected through the program will be reused, recovered for energy, used in asphalt applications, or re-refined.

Why Collect Used Oil?

State law (LB1257) banned disposal of waste oil in landfills back in1994. There is a need to prevent soil, surface water, and groundwater in Nebraska from possible contamination from used oil.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, used oil is responsible for approximately 40 percent of the pollution in rivers and streams. A gallon of used oil can ruin one million gallons of fresh water--a year's supply for 50 people.

Used oil that is improperly disposed of on roads, along fence lines or released into the air or through burning is a pollutant because toxic metals such as lead, cadmium, and arsenic are released into the environment. The oil can also contaminate surface and groundwater.

What Happens to Collected Oil?

Used oil can be used as a fuel resource. One gallon of used oil can be used to generate 98 kilowatt-hours of electricity. Used oil has nearly twice the energy-producing value of coal.

It's also a valuable resource when cleaned of its impurities and re-refined. Several national brands have been successfully marketed as premium recycled motor oils. Recycling used oil back into clean lubricating oil takes only from 1/2 to 1/4 as much energy as refining from crude oil.

What Will Be Accepted?

  • Spent oil from gasoline and diesel engines
  • Spent refrigerant lubricating oil
  • Spent lubricating oil from aircraft reciprocating and jet engines
  • Spent hydraulic fluid
  • Spent heat transfer fluids
  • Spent transmission fluid
  • Cutting Oils

What Will NOT Be Accepted?

  • Spent antifreeze
  • Brake fluid
  • Solvents of any kind
  • Any used oil with water
  • Vegetable oils (note: National By-Products will recycle vegetable oils. The plant that services central and eastern Nebraska is in Bellevue. Call tollfree: 1-800-247-7401)

Make sure to use empty, clean, leak-proof, and sealable containers. Take uncontaminated used oil to one of these three collection facilities in Lancaster County:

  • Lincoln: Transfer Station, 5101 N. 48th Street, 6:45 am - 3:00 pm, M-Sat. 6:45-noon, Sunday. Used oil will be accepted in quantities less than 25 gallons during all hours. If you have quantities greater than 25 gallons, call 402-441-8104 and make an appointment.
  • Davy: Otte Oil & Propane, 3435 Davey Rd, 9:00 am - 3 pm, M - F, except holidays; (402-785-2365).
  • Firth: Firth Energy Co., 208 W. 3rd St. 8:00 am - 5 pm, M-F; 8:00 am - noon, Saturday, except holidays; (402-791-5837).

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