Recycling used motor oil is important for the environment. It is also one of the few things that we use that is 100% recyclable, meaning we use it, re-refine it, and then use it as oil again. There are many places where you can dispose of used motor oil. Some have limits for how much you can dispose of at once, while others will come to you and pump it. In this article I will discuss where to recycle motor oil, how to store and transport it, and other frequently asked questions. I will also share my experience with the place where I recycle motor oil near me.

Map of Recycle Motor Oil Near Me – Use the Locator Below

If you’re looking to “Recycle Motor Oil Near Me”, see the locations on the map below…

What Do We Mean By Used Motor Oil?

Used motor oil, aka waste oil, is any insulating fluid that has been used in a machine. This can be any application where it is used to lubricate or transfer heat. During the process of its use, oil gets contaminated and loses its properties to perform its function. Once this happens it is considered waste oil.

Used oil is 100% recyclable. It can be re-refined and used again and again. In order for that to happen it requires safe disposal via a collection process, re-refinery processing, and then reuse of the fluid.

What Do We Mean By Used Motor Oil

Where to Recycle Motor Oil Near Me…

Places to recycle used motor oil are called Certified Used Oil Collection Centers. There are many of these around and they are in fact many business names you are already familiar with. Here are some of the most popular nationwide certified used oil collection centers near me:

Auto Parts Stores

Not all auto parts stores but many of the big name brands will take used motor oil. This includes Auto Zone, Advanced Auto Parts, Napa, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Car Quest, Pep Boys, Fisher Auto Parts, and AutoNation. Many of these have thousands of stores nationwide with Auto Zone being the biggest of all.

Most auto parts stores set limits on how much-used motor oil you can drop off at once. Typically it is about 5 gallons. Some specific locations may even host collection days where they buy used motor oil by the gallon.

Car Dealerships

Car dealerships will also dispose of used motor oil for you. Any major car dealership that also has a service center, will have the ability to dispose of used motor oil for you. Car dealerships don’t advertise that they recycle used motor oil, but if you ask they will almost always do it for you. All the popular dealerships with service centers do it: Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Nissan, Mercedes, BMW, Honda, Toyota, etc…

Auto Maintenance Shops

Auto maintenance shops also will let you dispose of used motor oil. This can be a place that does any type of car service like brakes, oil changes, mufflers, etc. I even know of tire shops that will accept it. Some of the popular ones are Jiffy Lube, Midas, Meineke, Aamco, Tuffy Tire and Auto Service, Mr. Transmission, Big O Tires, Grease Monkey, Valvoline Instant Oil Change, SpeeDee Oil Change & Auto Service, etc…

These shops may be willing to take more than a 5-gallon bucket, but you should call ahead.

Waste Management Facilities

These are local recycling centers, run by your state. Often these are large facilities that have huge oil drums for disposing of waste oil. Here you won’t have as many limits set for how many gallons you can drop off at once.

Local Curbside Pick Up

Some states, like California, will actually come and pick up your used motor oil and any used oil filters. You have to schedule a pick-up, secure the oil in a container, drain and bag your oil filter, and then put it out on the curb. It will be picked up at the scheduled time by your local waste management company.

Recycle Motor Oil Near Me

Why Do They Want My Used Motor Oil?

Well, it would be nice to think they want to do good for the environment, but that’s just not the main driver. The main driver for collecting your used motor oil is that they sell it. These collection locations have corporate deals with companies like Safety-KleenThermo Fluids, and Valvoline. They sell the used motor oil to a company that will re-refine it. When you drop off your used motor oil for recycling, they make money for reselling it.

Can You Sell Used Motor Oil Yourself?

You can at some specific locations, but it may not be worth the effort. Used motor oil sells for between $0.30 and $0.50 /gallon. Unless you had a significant amount of it, you aren’t looking at very much money. To learn more about who buys used motor oil, read this.

How Do I Get My Waste Oil to a Collection Center?

The mode of transporting your oil will depend on how much you have.

Recycle a Gallon of Less: Use a clean, leak-proof container like a plastic milk jug or an empty oil bottle. When you store it make sure the lid is on tight and it is in a cool dry place away from heat.

Recycle 5 to 100 gallons: Use clean 5-gallon buckets with a fastened lid. Storage should be in a cool dry place with a lid tightly on the bucket. There are bins you can use that hold volumes of oil for 55 gallons, 100 gallons, and 300 gallons.

Recycle 100 gallons or more: Find a company that will come to you and pump it. You can find folks who will do it for free and possibly even pay you for your used motor oil. It will depend on the distance you are from their location and the complexity of the pump.

Recycling Motor Oil Benefits the Environment

Motor oil recycling is a critical practice to safeguard the environment. Improper motor oil disposal can have severe consequences, as a single gallon of contaminated oil can contaminate one million gallons of fresh water. The first step in responsible oil disposal is storing used engine oil in a designated storage container. Never use a plastic bag or mix it with other automotive fluids, as this can render the oil unrecyclable.

Recycling Motor Oil Benefits the Environment

To promote sustainable practices, oil recycling collection centers have emerged across the country. These centers serve as convenient drop-off points for used engine oil. Here, individuals can safely deposit their old oil, ensuring it reaches the proper channels for recycling. Many of these centers also accept other automotive fluids, such as transmission and brake fluids, further reducing environmental contamination risks.

According to the American Petroleum Institute, recycling just two gallons of waste oil can generate enough electricity to run the average household for almost a full day. Oil is one of the amazing natural resources that we can use again and again if recycled properly. That also means less need to drill more oil.

Other recycling benefits are:

  • When properly disposed of it does not contaminate the groundwater
  • Less energy is required to make 1 gallon of re-refined base oil stock than a base stock from crude oil.
  • 1 gallon of used motor oil makes the same 2.5 quarts of lubricating oil as 42 gallons of crude oil.

Recycling used motor oil not only safeguards our environment but also contributes to resource conservation. The recycling process begins with the collection of used oil, where it is transported to specialized facilities for purification. Here, contaminants are removed, and the oil is re-refined to meet industry standards. Many companies buy and sell motor oil that has been successfully recycled, promoting a circular economy and reducing the need for virgin oil production. This environmentally responsible cycle benefits both our ecosystems and our wallets, as recycled motor oil is a sustainable alternative to virgin oil.

What Happens to Recycled Motor Oil What Happens to Recycled Motor Oil?

When motor oil gets recycled it gets re-refined. This is the process of getting the contaminants out of the waste oil and returning it to a clean usable state. It may in fact at this point be used for the same purpose it was originally used. For example, if it was originally used for an automobile, it can be used for an automobile again. That isn’t always the case though. It can have many other uses like lubricants, heating oil, asphalt, and other petroleum-based products.

There are tests and studies that show re-refined motor oil performs as well, and in some instances better than virgin oil.

Recycle Motor Oil Near Me – Conclusion

There are many places where you can recycle used oil. Some places may even be willing to pay you for it. The best thing to do is check if locations near you are Certified Used Oil Collection Centers. Then find out what restrictions they have such as drop-off times and limits allowed. This is what I have learned from the place where I recycle motor oil near me.


James is an avid junkyarder and mechanic. He has visited Junkyards in every US state and has restored over 30 makes and models of vehicles. He has several automotive and recycling related blogs that generate over 150K views a month.