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 (Recycling Oil Saves the Environment) have 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).

Once registered, the generators need to submit their figures every 90 days (quarterly) into the SAWIS. The information needs to be based on actual volumes and not estimates. The following information needs to be submitted and retained by the waste generator for five years, to be produced for inspection required:

(a) the month and year to which the information applies;

(b) Category of waste; HW07 Waste Oils 01 Waste oil

(c) Source from which waste comes

(d) The quantity of waste reported in tons.

Hazardous waste generators are required to have a Waste Manifest with every load

As used oil is a hazardous waste, generators are required to maintain the below information on a Hazardous Waste Manifest, a document that will track the used oil from cradle to grave and offer a clear snapshot on how it has been managed.

  • A unique consignment identification number in the form of a bar code;
  • The generator’s contact details, including the contact person, physical and postal address, phone and fax number and email address;
  • The physical address of the site where the waste was generated;
  • An emergency contact number;
  • The origin/source of the waste (how it was generated);
  • A description of the waste (waste classification and waste category)
  • The physical nature / consistency of the waste (liquid, solid, sludge; pump-able, non-pump-able);
  • The quantity of waste;
  • Packaging (bulk, small containers, tank);
  • Transport type (tanker, truck, container);
  • Special handling instructions;
  • The date of collection / dispatch;
  • The intended receiver (waste manager).

For more information visit

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 this, drain oil into a clean container with a tight-fitting lid, such as a reusable combination drain pan/storage container. Use a specially designed plastic Sumpy or container to collect and store your used oil.

Ensure that you store the oil in a container with a secure lid so that it cannot spill out. Empty oil containers and drums make effective makeshift 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 Motor 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. Very small volumes of used oil can be dropped off at most vehicle service centres, as they have used oil storage facilities on their premises.

Keep oil change pans free of water and ensure your storage containers are tightly sealed and covered to protect them from rain water. Oil that is contaminated with water is far more difficult to recycle – requiring several laborious and costly processes to separate the water from the oil before it can be recycled.

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.

Build a bund wall around your bulk used oil storage tanks so that in the event of a spill or leak, the used oil will be contained. In the event of an oil spill, contact your used oil collector.

For more information visit:

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