Used Oil Program

The Used Oil Collection Act of 1993 was enacted by the General Assembly in April, 1993 to reduce the amount of improperly disposed used oil by providing incentives to increase the number of public collection facilities for used oil. Today, do-it-yourselfers in Tennessee have access to more than 1,100 used oil collection sites. Used oil is a resource with considerable value. It can be re-refined to lubricant quality motor oil, burned for energy recovery, or burned in specially designed space heaters. Many local governments save on heating costs by burning do-it-yourselfer used oil in used oil fired space heaters at recycling centers and maintenance buildings. 

Where is the closest Automotive Fluid Collection Center near me?

You can find the drop off location closest to you or by calling by 1-800-287-9013.

Used Oil Collection and Storage

  • Drain your old oil from your car, or other equipment, in to a clean, plastic drain pan that has a screw on tight lid. The lid will prevent spills while moving the container or during transporting the container to your local recycling center. Make sure you drain your old oil filter as well. (See Draining Oil Filter Instructions below.)
  • Be sure not to mix the used oil with any other liquids, i.e. antifreeze, gasoline, paint, solvents, etc., because the mixed fluids will make the oil unsuitable for recycling.
  • Turn your empty quart or gallon containers upside down and let them drain for 24 hours before taking them to be recycled.
  • If you are going to store the oil for any period of time, be sure to place the pan on the ground, where it can’t be spilled, and to keep it away from anything that could cause it to catch fire.
  • Take it to a collection center near you. Used oil collection centers will accept up to 5 gallons a day from do-it-yourselfers. 
  • After depositing your used oil, take your reusable container home to use it again.

Draining Oil Filter Instructions

  • After draining the oil from your car or equipment, move the oil drain pan under the oil filter so that oil cannot be spilled on to the ground.
  • Unscrew the oil filter and place it dome side up on to the oil drain pan.
  • Using a punch or a screwdriver, punch a hole in the dome portion of the filter so that it will drain more efficiently.
  • Let hot oil filters drain for 12 hours and cold filters drain for 24 hours before recycling them. Oil filters can only be recycled or disposed of after they have been drained properly.

Antifreeze Recycling

Antifreeze is the engine coolant in most internal combustion engines that is used as a freeze protection and as a heat transfer medium for motor vehicles. Maintenance guides suggest antifreeze be flushed every 1-2 years. The most common type is made of ethylene glycol, a material that is toxic to humans and animals in small doses. Used antifreeze is hazardous to the environment if it contains dissolved heavy metals such as lead, tin, copper, zinc, and iron. A less toxic antifreeze made of propylene glycol may still contain some contaminates such as gas or oil that make it potentially hazardous also.

Used antifreeze should never be dumped on land or discharged in the storm drain, ditch, or septic system. Some sanitary sewer systems are capable of handling small amounts of used antifreeze. To learn more contact your local sanitary sewer system. 

Antifreeze is accepted for recycling at many of the do-it-yourself used oil collection sites in Tennessee. Used antifreeze is also accepted by Tennessee's Household Hazardous Waste Collection Program. To find a collection center near you, call toll free: 1-800-287-9013.

Contacts

For more information about Tennessee's Used Oil Program, please contact David Sutton at 615-532-0807 or by email at David.L.Sutton@tn.gov.

For regulatory and compliance issues, please contact the Division of Solid Waste Management, Nina Vo at 615-532-9268 or by email at Nina.Vo@tn.gov.