How to Recycle Used Motorcycle Oil

Changing the oil on your motorcycle or ATV yourself helps you save a little money, and get you better acquainted with your machine. One challenge that you're left with as a do-it-yourselfer is how to responsibly dispose of used oil. It's an important last step of an oil change, and doing it right helps to protect the environment and provide materials that can be reused as lubricants.

How to recycle old motorcycle oil

Environmental Impact of Used Motor Oil

The impact of engine oil on the environment is everlasting. Oil is toxic, and takes years to break down. The Environmental Protection Agency says one oil change can impact about a million gallons of fresh water, which we boat and fish in, and even drink. Oil can also harm wildlife. It can damage feathers on birds and release poisons into the food chain, which can ultimately make it into our food.

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Uses for Recycled Motor Oil 

Recycling used motor oil creates opportunities for industries to take advantage of a low-cost product for a number of applications, including:

  • Heating oil
  • Power generation
  • Boilers
  • Lubricants

And each one represents a way to save costs, which in some cases get passed on to the consumer. According to the EPA, if the used oil from every do-it-yourself oil change in America was recycled properly, it would provide enough reprocessed oil for 50 million cars a year.

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Recycle your Old Motor Oil

Step 1. After you've drained the oil out of your machine and into a drain pan, turn the old filter upside down and drain it for 24 hours. It can hold a lot of oil, and many recycling locations will take oil filters as well.

How to recycle old oil tips oil filter

Step 2. Pour the oil into reusable containers with tight lids.

Step 3. Place the oil filter in a plastic bag or another sealed container.

NOTE: Milk jugs are commonly used to recycle oil, but the oil can actually eat through the material. The oil's original container is a better choice for recycling oil.

How to recycle old oil tips container

Where to Take Used Oil for Recycling

Think of changing the oil on your ATV or motorcycle as an opportunity to protect the environment as well as standard maintenance. Every community is different, but sites like allow you to search for recycling centers by zip code. There are also shops and quick lubes that will take used oil without charge, so be sure to check if there are any such locations in your area that recycle oil for you.



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