Each year, New Zealand uses about 60 million litres of lubricating oil. While a few engines burn this oil entirely, many others generate substantial volumes of used oil. This dirty oil can be recovered and reused, according to Waste Petroleum Combustion Limited. Here are five interesting facts about used oil recycling.
Oil doesn’t break down
The additives in oil become depleted. The chemicals break down, but the oil just gets dirty. The dirty oil contains contaminants that include dirt, fuel, water, and used additives. The re-refining process cleanses the used oil through vacuum distillation and then adds fresh additives.
One litre of used oil can foul a million litres of drinking water
A single car oil change generates about 4 to 5 litres (One gallon) of used oil. This oil can ruin the taste of an incredible one million gallons of drinking water. That’s about enough water for 50 people for a whole year.
Oil reduces land productivity
If used oil is disposed of the wrong way, it can pollute land, water and infrastructure. Oil dumped on agricultural land lowers soil productivity.
1.6 litres of used oil makes one litre of re-refined oil
You will need about 67 litres of crude oil to produce one litre of new, high-quality lubricating oil. Conversely, you can use just 1.6 litres of used oil to produce one litre of re-refined lubricating oil. Re-refining is therefore very energy efficient.
Re-refining is both environmentally friendly and cost-effective
Researchers from the American Department of Defence established that making lube oils from used oil is more cost-effective and environmentally friendly than making lubrication oils from virgin base oil.
Used oil contains contaminants such as lead, arsenic, magnesium, zinc, chromium and chlorides. These contaminants are an environmental hazard. Always drain your dirty oil into a clean container and take it to a local drop-off bin, used oil collection site or hazardous waste collection.