Oil can be recycled and reused many times before it reaches the end of its lifecycle and needs to be disposed of properly. But, even when you think it has reached the end of its lifecycle, you have options for maximizing its value. There are many ways to recycle and reuse oil through different processes and each offers its own pros and cons, depending on how you will reuse the oil and the equipment you have available.
How Is Waste Oil Reused?
To clean waste oil and make it available for use in motorized equipment, as a hydraulic oil, or to produce plastics, processes may include water extractions, filtering, de-asphalting, and distillation. One of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to use waste oil is to burn it and use it for heating fuel. Waste oil heaters are designed to burn waste and used oil to provide heat or energy.
Another way to use waste oil efficiently is as heating fuel. Waste oil heat production can heat water or be a source of warmth in colder months. Waste oil heaters and boilers use waste oil as a fuel source for heat, and they provide quick heat and easy cleanup.
Finally, there are waste oil disposal organizations and facilities that will take unwanted waste oil. The availability and regulations of facilities taking waste oil depend on the state, so be sure to check before bringing your waste oil to a facility.
What Are the Different Methods for Reusing Waste Oil?
- Water Extractions – Before oil can be refined or passed through any of the following processes, it needs to have all the water extracted from it first.
- Filtering – Sometimes referred to as demineralization, filtering removes solids, additivities, or inorganic material from waste oil, turning it into feed oil for refining or creating a cleaner burning fuel.
- De-asphalting – While there are various types of de-asphalting, such as solvent or propane de-asphalting depending on the output desired, the end result is used for lube oil feedstock and vacuum gas oil among other things.
- Distillation – This process is used to make oil suitable for use as hydraulic oil, lubricant, and transformer oil. Since higher quality lubricating oils are distilled at higher boiling points, the process is capable of producing virgin base-oil quality.
- Burning Waste Oil – Waste oil can be used to provide heat or energy for heating water. Using a waste oil heater or boiler, you can burn your waste oil. It’s important to find the proper heater or boiler for your needs and one that meets EPA regulations.
- Disposing of Waste Oil – There are facilities that will accept used and waste oil, but they will do so for a fee. They may have options for drop-off or pick-up, depending on the amount and type of oil you need to dispose. Over time, you should consider the benefit of buying a waste oil heater and reusing your waste oil vs. paying someone else to capture the value of your used oil.
The Value of Waste Oil
Waste oil should be considered valuable. Improper disposal of oil can result in extreme damage to the environment and a loss of opportunity for many businesses. Businesses can capture the value of waste oil on site by reusing the oil. Therefore, it should never be considered traditional “waste” in the sense that it must be disposed of. To illustrate, the value of waste oil is due to the following characteristics:
- Money. Money. Money. Buying oil is an expense for a lot of businesses. By capturing the value of waste oil and reusing it as fuel and burning it in a waste oil heater or boiler, heating and energy bills may altogether disappear. Waste oil heaters and boilers not only save money, but they also end up paying for themselves. Additionally, there are significant tax credits and grants available to businesses that wish to buy waste oil heaters or boilers.
- Protects the Environment. When waste oil is reused or recycled on site, it prevents damage to the environment through improper dumping or disposal of waste oil. Oil spills can destroy flora and fauna and
- contaminate large swaths of water. Recycling waste oil is the best way to prevent those damages from occurring.
- Waste oil does not expire. While oils may become contaminated with solid elements or other additives, once they have been cleaned through one of the processes outlined above, they can be used again. Waste oil should be considered a renewable and reusable resource that can save money and the environment.
- Limits energy consumption. Processing raw materials for use requires the greatest energy expenditure when compared to recycling or reusing oil. When the oil is reused a second time, that further reduces the input energy needed to make it suitable for use.
- Conserves natural resources. Reusing waste oils means there is less demand for virgin oil from untouched or protected environmental habitants. The conversation of the environment through the reuse and recycling of oil helps to prevent further harm to the environment and reduce the number of giant oil spills.
- Keeps excess waste out of landfills. While the supply of landfills seems endless, there is a limit to how much we can add to them before we have to find another solution. When waste oil is recycled or reused, it prevents the disposal of oil into the landfill which prevents the surrounding land and water from being polluted by waste oil. Capture the value of your waste oil by reusing it!
- Makes an efficient heat source. Waste oil heaters and boilers are paving the way for greater savings on energy and heating costs by giving businesses the opportunity to burn their waste oil instead of paying someone to take it away. There are a number of options available for waste oil heaters and boilers, depending on your needs.
- Contributes to job growth. Waste oil can positively impact the unemployment rate by creating more jobs in recycling facilities and the construction of waste oil burners, heaters, and other refining tools. By increasing the demand for waste oil recycling, more jobs are created to meet that demand.
- Generates electricity beyond motorized equipment. Waste oil is energy dense and can be used to generate energy and heat. Two gallons of recycled oil is enough for an average household for almost 24 hours.
- Contributes to advancements in energy technology. Before waste oil heaters and boilers, it was much more difficult to capture the value of used oil. Now, the latest technology is being used in waste oil heaters and boilers, making them more efficient, most cost-effective, and a better investment for many businesses.
Waste oil is a valuable resource that should be viewed as such. By recycling or reusing your waste oil, you can save money, protect the environment, conserve energy, create more jobs, and much more. If you consider the value inherent in your waste oil, you’ll soon be on your way to making a difference in your balance sheet, sooner rather than later. Don’t just dispose of waste oil, start reusing it!