Why is used oil harmful to the environment?

Used oil is classified as a hazardous substance because of all of the harmful chemicals and metals that contaminate it through use. A release of used oil to the environment, whether by accident or otherwise, threatens ground and surface waters with oil contamination there by endangering drinking water supply and aquatic organisms.

If oil is thrown down a drain or onto the ground, it can seep into groundwater systems. One litre of used oil can contaminate a million litres of water. If unprocessed used oil is burnt in furnaces, harmful toxic compounds are emitted into the atmosphere damaging and polluting the air we breathe. For this reason it is illegal to dump used oil or to burn it without processing it first.

The law requires the responsible storage, collection and recycling of used oil within the strict compliance requirements of the Waste Act. Used oil is generated by a wide variety of sources including: industrial machinery, motor vehicles, mining equipment and agricultural equipment.

It is important that all used oil is collected and responsibly recycled, including the smaller amounts generated by DIY mechanics, farmers and small industry.