Used and waste oil are generated in immense quantities by countless types and quantities of facilities and industries. As these products pose an environmental hazard if not handled correctly, federal regulations mandate their proper storage. Much used oil is stored for later recycling. In fact, the EPA estimates that 380 million gallons of used oil are recycled each year.
In this week’s blog, we’ll talk about how used oil is stored, standards for used oil storage, and how used oil is recycled for use in other applications.
What is used oil?
There are three criteria for oil being used: its origin, use, and contaminants.
- Origin – Used oil is oil refined from crude or made from synthetic materials (does not include animal and vegetable oils).
- Use – “Oils used as lubricants, hydraulic fluids, heat transfer fluids, buoyants, and for other similar purposes are considered used oil.”
- Contaminants – The oil must be contaminated with physical or chemical impurities “generated from handling, storing, and processing used oil. Physical contaminants could include metal shavings, sawdust, or dirt. Chemical contaminants could include solvents, halogens, or saltwater.”
Recycling Used Oil
Used oil can be recycled for the same job or a different one. A few ways used oil can be recycled include:
- Reconditioning – Removing impurities from used oil.
- Use of used oil in the process of petroleum refining.
- Re-refining – Treating used oil “to remove impurities so that it can be used as a base stock for new lubricating oil. Re-refining prolongs the life of the oil resource indefinitely.”
- Energy recovery – Used oil is processed and burned to power industrial operations.
Why is recycling used oil good for the environment and the economy? Here are a few stats from the EPA:
- Re-refining used oil takes only about one-third the energy of refining crude oil to lubricant quality.
- It takes 42 gallons of crude oil, but only one gallon of used oil, to produce 2 ½ quarts of new, high-quality lubricating oil.
- One gallon of used oil processed for fuel contains about 140,000 British Thermal Units (BTUs) of energy.
Standards for Used Oil Storage
There are a number of specific regulations for used oil storage, but general practices include:
- Labeling all used oil storage tanks as such.
- Maintaining used oil storage tanks in good condition to prevent leaks.
- Only storing used oil in accepted tanks/containers.
To learn more about used and waste oil, contact Tanks Direct today. We offer used oil storage tanks for all of your used oil storage needs.
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