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Used Oil Program

Used Oil ProgramThe Used Oil Collection Act of 1993 was enacted by the General Assembly in April, 1993 to reduce the amount of improperly disposed used oil by providing incentives to increase the number of public collection facilities for used oil. Today, do-it-yourselfers in Tennessee have access to more than 1,100 used oil collection sites. Used oil is a resource with considerable value. It can be re-refined to lubricant quality motor oil, burned for energy recovery, or burned in specially designed space heaters. Many local governments save on heating costs by burning do-it-yourselfer used oil in used oil fired space heaters at recycling centers and maintenance buildings.

Learn More about Proper Automotive Oil Changing and Recycling Practices Here

Used Oil Collection and Recycling

Put used oil in a clean plastic container with a tight lid. Do not mix it with anything. Paint, gasoline, solvents, antifreeze, etc. will make the oil unsuitable for recycling. Take it to a collection center near you. Used oil collection centers will accept up to 5 gallons a day from do-it-yourselfers. To find used oil collection center near you, call toll free: 1-800-287-9013 or search your location in the Earth 911 box below.

Use a drain pan or a funnel to easily transfer used oil and other automotive fluids. If a small spill occurs, use kitty litter or an absorbent to soak up the spill. Absorbents can be reused until saturated then bagged and disposed in the regular garbage. If used motor oil is not disposed of properly, it can interfere with the operation of sewer systems and can easily get into our groundwater and streams. In fact, it takes only one gallon of used oil to contaminate a million gallons of drinking water.  After depositing your used oil, take your reusable container home to use it again.

Used Oil Filter Collection and Recycling

Drain the filter by puncturing a hole in the dome and draining for a minimum of 12 hours if it is hot or 24 hours if it is cold. Recycle your used oil filter at a collection center near you. To find used oil collection center near you, call toll free: 1-800-287-9013 or search your location above. If recycling is not available in your neighborhood, dispose of the oil filter in your garbage only after it has been properly drained and bagged.

Antifreeze Recycling

Antifreeze is the engine coolant in most internal combustion engines that is used as a freeze protection and as a heat transfer medium for motor vehicles. Maintenance guides suggest antifreeze be flushed every 1-2 years. The most common type is made of ethylene glycol, a material that is toxic to humans and animals in small doses. Used antifreeze is hazardous to the environment if it contains dissolved heavy metals such as lead, tin, copper, zinc, and iron. A less toxic antifreeze made of propylene glycol may still contain some contaminates such as gas or oil that make it potentially hazardous also.

Used antifreeze should never be dumped on land or discharged in the storm drain, ditch, or septic system. Some sanitary sewer systems are capable of handling small amounts of used antifreeze. To learn more contact your local sanitary sewer system.

Antifreeze is accepted for recycling at many of the do-it-yourself used oil collection sites in Tennessee. Used antifreeze is also accepted by Tennessee's Household Hazardous Waste Collection Program. To find a collection center near you, call toll free: 1-800-287-9013 or search your location below.

Useful Links

For more information about Tennessee's Used Oil Program Contact Rhonda Paxton at 615-532-0807.

For regulatory and compliance issues contact the Division of Solid Waste Management, Nina Vo at 615-532-9268.