Used Oil


Current lubricant formulations contain many special additives to meet the requirements of today's high performance engines. These additives, combined with contaminants that enter the oil through normal engine wear or equipment operation, cause used oil to be considered a damaging environmental pollutant if not managed properly. Florida's hazardous waste regulations exempt used oil if 1) it has not been mixed, or contaminated with hazardous wastes and 2) it is sent offsite for recycling or burned for energy recovery. The exemption is available only if proper records are maintained. However, used oil, because of the metals and other contaminants are present in it, is considered to be a hazardous waste for most purposes. Transmission fluid and most other equipment lubricants are crude-based petroleum products and therefore can be mixed with used oil. Such lubricants must not be contaminated with hazardous solvents. If used oil is not recycled, it must be tested to determine if it is a hazardous waste.

  • keep used oil in a separate container, clearly marked "USED OIL ONLY"
  • keep accurate records of used oil testing and shipment for 3 years
  • utilize the services of a used oil transporter registered with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). Evaluate transporters for the quality of service, compliance with environmental regulations and proof of current liability insurance. You may be liable for cleaning costs if your used oil is disposed of improperly.
  • clean up spills immediately
  • mix used oil with even small amounts of other hazardous wastes or solvents, such as brake cleaner or carburetor cleaner. This could cause the entire container of used oil to be classified as a hazardous waste

  • pour used oil onto the ground (even for dust suppression) or dispose of used oil in a storm drain, septic tank, drywell, sewer or dumpster

  • mix used oil with other solid wastes destined for a landfill

For more information concerning the proper handling of used oil, contact the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Solid and Hazardous Waste ( or the Hinkley Center for Solid and Hazardous Waste Management ( This information is offered only as guidance. Specific requirements may vary with individual processes and/or businesses.