Does Used Motor Oil Cause Pollution?

October 29, 2019

It seems that everyone is talking about the environment, pollution and “going green” these days. There are a lot of ways we can protect our environment by reducing the harmful impact of some of our everyday practices.

Often, at the center of discussions about pollution, you will find motor oil as a main topic. Our economy in Louisiana relies heavily on oil and its byproducts, just like other local economies across the country. While we may not be able to all agree on the level of impact oil has on our world, we can all agree that it does have an impact. But what causes used motor oil pollution in New Orleans, LA? Let’s find out.

What is used motor oil, and where does it come from?

Motor oil is not to be confused with the oil that is used for fuel. Motor oil is used to lubricate the moving parts of machinery engines, and this includes everything from vehicles to lawnmowers. In the process of lubricating the engine, motor oil picks up impurities that will eventually cause the oil to have to be replaced. When the old oil is removed, it becomes a risk to the environment.

Why is used motor oil so dangerous to the environment?

Used motor oil is heavy and sticky, which means it is a concentrated substance full of toxins that is difficult to clean up or dilute, even over time. Used motor oil often contains tiny pieces of metal and other debris that it picks up inside the engine, and these contaminants often contain dangerous substances such as zinc, lead and even arsenic. Besides these more tangible contaminants, there are other toxic substances found in used motor oil, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are known to cause cancer.

How does used motor oil cause pollution?

Once used motor oil enters the environment, it is hard to get rid of. In fact, just one gallon of used motor oil can pollute a million gallons of fresh water. Used motor oil will make its way to waterways, which can have a serious impact on animals and plants living in the water. Oil can also seep into the ground, impacting our drinking water.

But it’s not only water that is impacted. Oil residue on plants can impact their ability to perform photosynthesis, which is essential to the life of the plant as well as the production of oxygen for us. Oil that enters the soil can also make the soil less productive for growing crops.

The best way to stop used motor oil pollution in New Orleans, LA is to prevent motor oil from entering the environment in the first place. At Safeway Used Oil and Grease, we make reducing used motor oil pollution our business by collecting used motor oil and delivering it to a local refinery. If you would like to learn more about our safe, convenient oil collection and recycling program and how it can help your business and our environment, contact Safeway Used Oil and Grease today!

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