Nfld. & Labrador

Motor oil, antifreeze soon to be recycled across N.L.

A new oil recycling program sets up car dealerships and repair garages as drop-off points for used oil, oil filters, antifreeze and containers, and carts it away to be recycled.

New program will be set up at car dealerships and repair shops

Mona Rossiter is UOMA's Newfoundland and Labrador consultant. (Bruce Tilley/CBC)

A new recycling program is aiming to keep old motor oil, along with several other related products, out of Newfoundland and Labrador landfills.

The program will work with car dealerships and garages, carting away their vats of used oil, antifreeze and oil filters for recycling, for free. Empty aerosol cans for lubricant and brake cleaner will also be collected.

Some of those sites will also be set up as collection spots, where people can dump their personal amounts of used oil and antifreeze for recycling, "instead of putting it in your garbage, which is probably what happens now," said Mona Rossiter, a consultant for the Used Oil Management Association's Newfoundland and Labrador, which is running the program.

The program was approved by the province's Multi-Materials Stewardship Board and kicks off Oct. 1.

Before that date, UOMA is meeting with garages, dealerships and regional waste management organizations across the province to tell them how things will work.

One cab company, 7,000 litres of oil

Rossiter said there's no way to know how much used oil and antifreeze gets dumped in the province's landfills. Many garages and car dealerships, both major sources of that type of waste, currently pay to have it picked up.

"It's not cheap," said Kitch Tizzard, a mechanic at Big Al's Garage in St. John's.

Kitch Tizzard works at Big Al's Garage in St. John's. (Bruce Tilley/CBC)

Big Al's services the entire Newfound Cabs fleet: about 120 cars, which each get an oil change every 4,000 kilometres or so. 

That works out to more than 7,000 litres of used motor oil each year, Tizzard said.

Big Al's uses a furnace that runs on used motor oil, but some of the garage's waste oil isn't good enough to be burned for heat, he said. So they pay to have it taken away.

Under the new program, UOMA will cover recycling costs.

If Big Al's — or any other garage or dealership UOMA services — signs up to be a collector site, they will put a signifying sticker in their window, to let people know they can come in and drop off their own used oil, antifreeze, filters or aerosols to be taken away by UOMA, too.

Pennies passed on the consumer

The cost to run the program is built into the cost of the products in the form of an environmental handling charge, Rossiter said.

"We're talking pennies, here," she said, using a range between four and 13 cents as an example.

"That money is taken and used to run the program, to do all the collection, all the pickup," she said.

The handling charge will also allow UOMA to collect data on how much of these products are sold in the province.

With UOMA also handling all the recycling, they'll be able to compare the numbers and figure out how much of the province's used oil and antifreeze waste is ending up in landfills, she said.

"It gives us a better understanding of what's happening with used oil, used antifreeze and all of the containers it comes in," she said.

Read more stories from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Cec Haire and the St. John's Morning Show

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