Appropriate used oil collection methods are critical for keeping the environment clean and safe. To accomplish this goal it is crucial to adopt best-used oil management procedures. Read on to understand more details about used and waste oil

Used Oil vs. Waste Oil

While the terms used oil and waste oil may define the same fluid, there is a big difference between the two, according to EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). This regulatory body defines used oil as; any oil that is refined from synthetic or crude oil that is contaminated by chemical or physical impurities. This description does not incorporate animal or vegetable-based oil. Instead, it focuses on any synthetic, or petroleum-based oil that has been used before. 

Waste oil, on the other hand, is any oil that has been corrupted so much so that you can no longer use it. For example, assuming the lid on an oil drum has a hole and water penetrates inside the drum. In this case, the product is considered unusable, meaning it falls under the waste oil category. 

Local and State Regulations on Used Oil Collection Processes

Businesses that specialize in the use of oil should adhere to the EPA’s used oil collection and management guidelines. Further, it should also comply with state and federal waste regulations when their used oil is contaminated with hazardous products.

The disposal of hazardous waste is a long, costly, and strictly regulated process. How can you ensure that your used oil is not contaminated by hazardous waste? Always keep used oil away from chemicals and solvents and avoid mixing it with any product. 

Local and state regulations are usually stricter compared to the EPA guidelines. Due to this, it is critical to understand your local regulations and laws when it comes to waste and used oil collection. The best way to be compliant and avoid costly fees is to label your used oil storage containers appropriately. Sometimes companies are fined heavily for lack of proper labeling procedures. 

Always keep proper records and remember EPA uses twelve-digit identification numbers to trail used oil. Transporters operating in used oil collection centers require a valid EPA identification number. Further, collection centers, generators, and aggregation points should ensure all transporters have valid EPA ID numbers when moving the oil offsite. 

Record Keeping

Used oil processors, transporters, burners, and marketers should keep proper records of each used oil shipment cleared for transport. The shipment records should incorporate:

• The address and name of the transporter, generator, and re-refiner or processor who offered the used oil for transportation

• The quantity of cleared used oil

• The EPA identification number of the transporter, generator, or processor who offered the oil for transportation

The date of acknowledgment

These records should be stored for a minimum of three years. Remember, as the ISO 55001 authorization becomes more widespread, this record-keeping will be a huge factor for approval.

It is worth mentioning that you do not need an EPA tracking number for used oil shipments that are less than 55 gallons. However, you will still need special authorization from local and state governments. 

Used oil collection processors, re-refiners, burners, and transfer facilities should have alternative containment systems. These systems help reduce the risk of oil escaping into the environment in case of a spill or leak. However, EPA requires used generators to utilize an alternative containment system to prevent oil from polluting the environment. 

Filters and Used Oil

During a failure investigation or root cause evaluation, an oil sample post-mortem may comprise a wide range of details. These details can help figure out the source of failure. If you choose to pour the used oil in a container, then you will be missing out on this critical information.

This process also applies when it comes to the amount of used oil and filter in a lubricant system. The filter is also called the lubricant system’s hard drive. It stores all the details about the contamination of the system. 


Every business that deals with oil should identify and handle waste or used oil appropriately. Doing so saves you from paying huge fines and costs.