When you think about recycling, motor oil might not immediately spring to mind, but with one litre of inappropriately disposed oil able to contaminate one million litres of water, the team at Berkeley Vale’s Coast and Valley Oil (CVO) think it should.
Operated by the Kelly family since 1977, the CVO depot is one of the oldest oil recycling and collection businesses in Australia.
Over the years CVO has helped keep thousands of litres of oil out of landfill across the Coast, the Hunter, Newcastle and Sydney, and this National Recycling Week (November 9-15) they want to help educate more Northerners about the benefits of recycling their used motor oil.
“Used motor oil is hazardous.
“Motor oil picks up a variety of hazardous contaminants when used in engines and transmissions.
“If used motor oil and the contaminants it contains are disposed of inappropriately and released into the environment, they can harm humans, plants, animals and marine life.
“CVO have spent over 40 years making sure that waste oil and filters are being recycled in an environmentally friendly way,” said CVO’s Andrew Kelly.
At CVO used oil is collected and stored, then transported to a refinery where it is re-refined to make new lube oil or diesel fuel products.
The process removes contaminants to produce premium grade base oils, which kick start the oil’s lifecycle once again, with those oils also able to go through the refining process once used.
It’s fantastic news for the environment, with around 300 million of the approximately 500 million litres of motor oil sold annually in Australia collected and recycled by companies like CVO.
According to Kelly, another significant contributor to landfill is used motor oil filters, with many Australians unaware that they can in fact be recycled.
“Used oil filters are amassed in vehicle service centres when vehicles are serviced.
“Filters were at first sent to the metal recyclers ‘as collected’, but as environmental and OH&S concerns have deepened, it meant metal recyclers required the filters to be crushed to remove the bulk of the oil,” he explained.
“Beginning in early 2019, metal recyclers placed even tighter restrictions on what they would receive, and filters are now required to be delivered shredded, paper free with no visible oil.
“Further to this, the paper residue cannot be sent to landfill containing free oil, and disposal by combustion is also not an option due to EPA constraints.
“Over the past year and a half, with assistance from the EPA Product Improvement Program and BinTrim Grants, CVO has been able to do a lot of research and development to come up with a process that successfully achieves the end result required by the scrap metal industry.
“Our new technologically advanced equipment processes a cleaner, more serviceable metal recyclable product, extracting around 99 per cent of the oil recovered that is absorbed in the paper,” Kelly said.