FAQs Used Oil Management Association

rusty oil barrel floating in water

What is UOMA?

The Used Oil Management Association (UOMA) promotes education, innovation and facts about used oil management to help business reduce liability associated with waste oil management and improve energy cost savings.  UOMA was founded in 1982 after the US Congress passed the Used Oil Recycling Act 1980 and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released regulations which encouraged the recycling of used oil on site for energy recovery.

What is UOMA’s mission?

UOMA’s mission is to promote and provide guidance for the safe and efficient on-site recycling of used oil in order to provide energy savings for businesses and maintain a cleaner environment. This mission is achieved through educating the public about used-oil recycling, supporting technological developments in the used-oil and recycling industry, and working with members and local partners to meet economic, environmental, and social goals around used-oil recycling and burning.

Who are the members of UOMA?

UOMA members include Clean Burn LLC, Energy Logic, Firelake Mfg. LLC, and Lanair. Together, these manufacturers produce 90 percent of all the used oil heaters produced in North America.

How does used oil negatively impact the environment?

Used oil can negatively impact the environment if it is improperly disposed of. Unfortunately, some used oil gets emptied into sewers, some used oil is dumped directly on the ground to kill weeds, and some used oil gets accidently spilled. The result when handled improperly is that it can easily go into the groundwater. If one gallon of used oil gets into the water supply, it can contaminate one million gallons of water. That is a year’s supply for 50 people. In the United States, used oil is the largest, single source of water pollution.

Is there a difference between used oil and waste oil?

Waste oil is a term to describe a synthetic or petroleum-based oil that is no longer useful for its originally intended purpose. True waste oil has never been used. On-the-other-hand used oil has served its purpose but has accumulated contaminates and been broken down from the heat and friction of a machine or other process. This distinction is important for official regulations, disposal, and the labeling of containers, but in common terms, “used oil” and “waste oil” are used interchangeably.

What are the rules for properly disposing of waste oil?

Unfortunately, there are no federal rules for the proper disposal of waste oil. Each US state has its own rules and regulations. Therefore, consult both your state and local regulatory offices to get the most accurate information. However, all states have similar regulations around the storage, burning, or offsite disposal of used oil. Most states have rules around the proper storage of used oil prior to burning or disposal. In general, used oil must be stored in a proper container and labeled. Most states also allow the burning of waste oil if you use a certified, efficient waste oil heater. Finally, if waste oil cannot be burned on-site, most states have a local facility or association that must retrieve and dispose of the oil.

How can waste oil be reused?

For waste oil to be reused, it must first be recycled. Recycling removes the dirty particles so that it can be used again. There are several oil recycling processes and a variety of end uses. One of the most efficient and cost-effective processes is to recondition the oil on site and burn it in a dedicated waste oil burner for heat or energy. Waste oil can also be re-refined to a product that is virtually identical to virgin oil. Additionally, waste oil can be collected or dropped off at used oil collection points where the used oil can be fed into the front end of a petroleum refining process to produce gasoline.

Are waste oil burners dangerous to the environment?

DIY waste-oil burners can be ineffective and harmful to the environment. However, advancements in technology have made modern, professionally built waste-oil heaters very environmentally friendly. Today’s waste-oil heaters are capable of completely combusting used oil. This process minimizes exhaust gasses to levels similar to a single Diesel truck for a clean burn. Moreover, burning used oil for heat replaces the need for other fuel-energy sources such as natural gas, propane, and electricity. When you add these factors together, using a waste oil burner greatly benefits the environment.

Is burning waste oil considered clean energy?

Technological advances mean today’s professionally built waste oil burners can create a clean, complete burn of used oil that minimizes exhaust emissions and heat loss. When the right waste oil heater is used, the waste oil combustion can even exceed every EPA requirement for helping to preserve clean air.

What is cradle-to-grave liability?

Cradle-to-grave liability is a regulation that makes producers and users of waste oil liable for the safe management of that waste from the time it is created until its ultimate disposal. Ultimately, cradle-to-grave liability means a business is liable for the proper disposal of used oil from the moment the oil drains into a pan until it is processed or burned. This includes any accidental spills or improper dumping by a used oil hauler.