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Used lubricant oil contains harmful compounds and carcinogens and one litre of used oil can contaminate one million litres of water. Because of this, used oil – which is a common by-product of mechanised processes in all industry sectors – is classified as a hazardous waste and is strictly governed by environmental laws and more specifically the requirements of the Waste Act.
The ROSE Foundation has been championing the responsible collection and removal of used oil for proper recycling since 1994 and offer the following advice to used oil generators:
20kg used lubrication oil per day must be registered on SAWIS
Four car oil changes a day, or one truck oil change per day, will require registration as a generator of Hazardous waste. In short if you get in excess of 20kg of used oil per day, you are required to register on the South African Waste Information System (SAWIS).
The proper collection and storage of used oil
Used oil finds its way into our water table through disposal in drains and storm water drains and by being poured directly onto the ground as either a dust suppressant or as a means of disposal.
To prevent oil from finding its way into drains and storm water drains, ensure that you store the oil in a container that is not leaking. Steel or plastic flowbins make effective storage vessels for used oil, however, DO NOT use a container that previously held chemicals, such as cleaners, solvents, fuels, paint or bleach. Always clearly label the container “Used Lube Oil.”
Keep these containers in a place that can be accessed by a ROSE registered used oil collector and keep the surrounding area clear and clean. Ideally store them under cover and away from heat or sources of ignition.
Ensure that you do not mix used oil with other fluids such as antifreeze, transmission fluid, petrol, diesel etc. Mixing them may make them non-recyclable as well as very hazardous and flammable.
The removal of used oil for responsible recycling
Used oil generators are urged to gather and store their used oil for responsible collection by a ROSE registered oil collector who will come and remove the oil and take it to be recycled in an environmentally compliant and safe manner. Your collector must always issue you with a safe disposal certificate which is now required by law under the Waste Act.
This safe disposal certificate issued by ROSE registered collectors also acts as a Hazardous Waste Manifest, thereby fulfilling the requirements of reporting by law, the same information can be used on SAWIS.
For more information and to find out about a registered used oil collector, contact the ROSE Foundation on (021) 448 7492 or visit www.rosefoundation.org.za.