The service station next to my office saves the used oil from oil changes to burn in a special heater in the colder months.
It is my understanding that used motor oil can be recycled in a number of ways:
- refined to create new lubricants
- used to make asphalt
- burned to generate electricity
- refined to create heating oil
Burning on site avoids all the transportation impacts associated with recycling and redistributing recycled material as well as the energy inputs required for the recycling itself. But burning in so many potentially poorly maintained heaters could cause much greater carbon and other emissions than processing in a regulated facility.
Do the benefits of recycling outweigh those costs in terms of environmental impact or sustainability. Should this used motor oil be collected and managed in a single facility rather than burned on site in many facilities?