Knowing how to recycle plastic containers from motor oil and farm chemicals is essential if you want to keep yourself and your family safe while also finding a thrifty use for those old jugs. While there are a few pointers you’ll want to keep in mind when repurposing these used containers, know that recycling is a great way to give new life to these items.
What You'll Learn Today
- How Do You Dispose of Plastic Containers?
- What Do I Do With Empty Motor Oil Containers and Other Oil Products?
- How Do You Clean Motor Oil Containers?
- How to Recycle Plastic Containers from Motor Oil and Farm Chemicals – Safely!
How Do You Dispose of Plastic Containers?
Most plastic containers are easy enough to repurpose on the farm.
You can use them to store snacks, make watering cans or feed scoops, or even to start seeds.
There are certain types of plastic containers, though, that you probably don’t want to repurpose. If you have a container that was used to store motor oil or various farm chemicals, like pesticides, it’s probably not a good idea to use it to scoop out animal feed.
Because of this, you might be wondering what your other options are when the jugs run dry. Can you just throw them in the trash? Is that the most eco-friendly option?
While completely empty motor oil containers can go in the recycling cart in most instances, that isn’t always the case. In some places, plastic containers should be put in the trash or brought to a donation or collection center for reuse.
Plastic containers that are labeled with a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 symbol can usually be placed in the recycling bin if they are clean. Otherwise, contact your local authorities as to what you should do with your used containers.
Most of the time, plastics are accepted by collection companies as long as they are:
- Numbered 1-7 on the bottom
If a container does not meet these standards, it should go in the trash. Again, it should always be cleaned first, even if you aren’t putting it in the recycling.
Are Plastic Motor Oil Containers Recyclable?
Empty motor oil containers can be difficult to recycle because of the oily residue left inside the bottle.
While some recycling companies will still pick them up as long as they are clean, it’s important to check in with your service to find out whether that’s the case. Many companies do not recycle them even if the containers have the proper label.
What Do I Do With Empty Motor Oil Containers and Other Oil Products?
When they still contain oil – even just a small amount of oil or residue – empty motor oil containers are considered hazardous waste.
If, however, the bottles are totally empty and completely dry, you can often put them in the trash or in the recycling.
It’s important that you are mindful of where you are putting your empty motor oil, filters, and containers. It doesn’t belong on the ground or in storm drains – it can contain heavy metals and other toxic substances that are damaging to the environment.
Getting Rid of Used Oil and Oil Filters
If you have any used oil to get rid of, return it to the store where you purchased it. Retailers are required to accept used oil for recycling at a rate of up to two gallons per person per day as long as you have the receipt from when you purchased the oil.
Used oil filters should not be thrown in the marsh. Instead, take a used oil filter in a sealed bag to a municipal collection program. If there isn’t a collection program available where you live, you can wrap the drained filter in a plastic bag along with some sort of absorbent product like kitty litter.
This video has some other helpful tips on how to recycle used motor oil.
Put in the Recycling Bin
In most cases, empty motor oil containers can be cleaned and put in the recycling bin for pick-up. Do not put any half-filled or dirty motor oil containers in the recycling. Instead, make sure they are completely clean before putting them in curbside carts.
Before you do this, however, it’s important that you contact your collection service to find out if these are actually accepted.
Empty motor oil containers can be difficult to recycle since they leave behind an oily residue. When plastic containers are processed, they pass over a series of conveyor belts. As you might expect, the oil can get into the gears and damage the system.
Because of this, some companies request instead that you drain and discard the bottles in the regular trash.
Take Them to a Service Station
Service stations will not only accept used motor oil and filters – but they will also accept empty motor oil containers. Check with the nearest service station to see if they will take your containers.
How Do You Clean Motor Oil Containers?
There are a few easy ways to clean empty motor oil containers.
One of the simplest ways is to pour out any remaining oil. Then, place the jug upside down and secure it so that it won’t tip over. Leave it upside down for a few days to allow the rest of the oil to drip out. It will take some time for all of this slow-moving fluid to get out!
After that, you can apply a bit of rubbing alcohol to the container. Let it stand, then apply a bit of white vinegar with water. Let that stand for a few more hours. Then, apply a paste made out of baking soda and water. Scrub the container with a sponge.
There are also other remedies you can purchase, such as oil cleaning solutions. Some people claim that things like Tide laundry detergent or Dawn dishwashing detergent can be used to remove oil, too.
Whatever you choose, just make sure you’re vigilant about cleaning your empty oil containers before you attempt to recycle them!
How to Recycle Plastic Containers from Motor Oil and Farm Chemicals – Safely!
While it might seem like a waste to throw a used plastic container used to store motor oil or farm chemicals into heat rash when you’re done with it, unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of other options. It is not safe to repurpose an oil jug to store other products, even if those other products are chemicals themselves.
Add chemicals to an empty motor oil bottle and you‘re playing with fire – the mixture of the chemicals with the oil residue can create toxic byproducts that can make you extremely ill.
Therefore, consider following one of the tips recommended above for getting rid of your empty plastic containers. Better safe than sorry!