Today I decided to drop off all the used motor oil I’ve been collecting over the years, but have been too lazy to do anything about. I discovered online that our society’s way of handling citizen’s used motor oil isn’t collection centers, but autoparts stores and oil-changing shops. Typically, places have a 5 gallon limit, and I had 7 gallons.

My first stop was Napa Auto Parts. I was really dissapointed that while they collected used motor oil, they did not collect the plastic quart-sized containers which they sell oil in, nor did they collect used oil filters. Emptying old oil quarts became a dirty job fast, and now I had dirty oil quarts to take back with me.

Companies which sell toxic products need to ensure that the life cycle of the products they sell are covered, to minimize environmental contamination. For example, since 2003, California mandates that new computers are sold with an e-waste recycling fee (only $7!) which pays for recycling old computers. It’s unfortunate that some companies can choose to only accept partial responsibility for the products they sell.

If every company were like Napa, people would be tossing contaminated plastic containers and oil filters into the garbage. Napa Auto Parts gets a failing grade here.

After Napa’s failure, I drove to Oil Changer, where they took not only my used oil and filters, but also the oil-contaminated quarts I was left with after Napa wouldn’t take them. I appreciated their service so much I had to blog about them. So if you need an oil change, give them a try, at least they are environmentally responsible.

To find a drop-off location for toxic substances, try Earth 911.


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