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The foundations were first laid in April 1994 after the government withdrew support for the used oil re-refining industry. Previously lubricants were taxed to subsidize the re-refining of used oil back into lubricating oil.

When this subsidy was removed, the major lubricant companies operating in South Africa took it upon themselves to help protect the environment. So they formed the ROSE Foundation to prevent the irresponsible dumping and burning of used lubricating oil.

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