Used oil is a common by-product of mechanised processes in all industry sectors, and because of its harmful properties it is classified as a hazardous waste. Used lubricants contain harmful compounds and carcinogens that can easily contaminate the environment, especially if thrown down drains, into landfills or onto the ground.
As a hazardous substance, it is strictly governed by environmental laws and its storage and disposal has to meet the requirements of the Waste Act.
The ROSE Foundation (Recycling Oil Saves the Environment) has been championing the responsible collection and removal of used oil for proper recycling since 1994 and offers the following important advice to used oil generators.
Registering on SAWIS
Anyone generating in excess of 20kg of used oil per day, is required to register on the South African Waste Information System (SAWIS).
Once registered, the generators need to submit their figures every 90 days (quarterly) into the SAWIS. The information needs to be based on actual volumes and not estimates. The following information needs to be submitted and retained by the waste generator for five years, to be produced for inspection, when required:
- The month and year to which the information applies;
- Category of waste; HW07 Waste Oils 01 Waste oil
- Source from which waste comes
- The quantity of waste reported in tons.
Hazardous waste manifest with every load
As used oil is classified as hazardous waste, generators are required to maintain the below information on a Hazardous Waste Manifest, a document that will track the used oil from cradle to grave and offer a clear snapshot on how it has been managed.
The proper collection and storage of used oil
Used oil can find its way into our water table through disposal in drains and storm water drains and by being poured directly onto the ground as either a dust suppressant or as a means of disposal.
To prevent this, drain oil into a clean container with a tight-fitting lid, such as a reusable combination drain pan/storage container. Use a specially designed plastic Sumpy or container to collect and store your used oil.
Ensure that you store the oil in a container with a secure lid so that it cannot spill out. Empty oil containers and drums make effective makeshift storage vessels for used oil, however, DO NOT use a container that previously held chemicals, such as cleaners, solvents, fuels, paint or bleach. Always clearly label the container “Used -Lube Oil.”
Keep these containers in a place that can be accessed by a ROSE registered used oil collector and keep the surrounding area clear and clean. Ideally store them under cover and away from heat or sources of ignition. Very small volumes of used oil can be dropped off at most vehicle service centres, as they have used oil storage facilities on their premises.
Keep oil change pans free of water and ensure your storage containers are tightly sealed and covered to protect them from rain water. Oil that is contaminated with water is far more difficult to recycle – requiring several laborious and costly processes to separate the water from the oil before it can be recycled.
Ensure that you do not mix used oil with other fluids such as antifreeze, transmission fluid, petrol, diesel etc. Mixing them may make them non-recyclable as well as very hazardous and flammable.
Build a bund wall around your bulk used oil storage tanks so that in the event of a spill or leak, the used oil will be contained. In the event of an oil spill, contact your used oil collector or a HAZCHEM specialist.
Used oil collectors to remove your hazardous waste
Used oil generators are urged to gather and store their used oil for responsible collection by a ROSE registered oil collector who will come and remove the oil and take it to be recycled in an environmentally compliant and safe manner. Your collector must always issue you with a safe disposal certificate which is now required by law under the Waste Act.
This safe disposal certificate issued by ROSE registered collectors also acts as a Hazardous Waste Manifest, thereby fulfilling the requirements of reporting by law, the same information can be used on SAWIS.
Make sure that your used oil collector is licensed and registered by ROSE, as this ensures that the collectors are compliant with all waste transportation legislation and are strictly managed and audited – further ensuring your compliance as a waste generator.
For more information and to find out about a registered used oil collector contact the ROSE Foundation on (021) 448 7492 or visit www.rosefoundation.org.za