Dispose of engine oil

If you want to change the engine oil yourself at home in order to save money, there is usually one question left unanswered: Where to put the waste oil? We will explain to you where you can take the contaminated engine oil, which regulations apply and what you are threatened with if the waste oil is disposed of improperly.

Who takes my waste oil?

As a general rule, anyone who sells oil is legally obliged to take back and dispose of the same amount of waste oil free of charge. When buying oil, keep the receipt and return the used oil to the dealer. For this purpose, please pour the oil into a shatterproof container. If oil leaks during transport and gets into the groundwater, it can cause enormous environmental damage. In addition, improper disposal of waste oil is subject to heavy fines.

If you cannot bring the oil personally to the dealer, shipping by post in a sealed package is also possible. Many municipalities also have waste oil collection points in recycling centres or landfills that accept the oil. However, depending on the quantity delivered, costs may be incurred there. Make sure that the oil is not mixed with foreign substances such as brake fluid or coolant. In this case, the mixture may only be disposed of in hazardous waste facilities.

Some petrol stations also offer waste oil disposal. Contact the respective operator to find out how and where this is possible.

By the way, you can not only dispense used oil, but also oil residues that are left over after simply filling the oil level, for example, and are no longer needed.

Old oil is filled in a canister
Used oil must be disposed of properly

What are the costs for the disposal of waste oil?

If you can return the oil to the dealer, you will only have to pay for the transport of the waste oil. However, if you have lost the receipt for the oil purchase or want to dispose of the waste oil at a nearby recycling centre, it depends entirely on the amount of engine oil you dispense. Quantities of 5-7 litres are usually disposed of free of charge by the municipality. If you have accumulated larger quantities, disposal costs of 1 to 3€ per litre can arise.

Which laws apply to the disposal of waste oil?

Everyone is obliged to recycle used engine oil. The waste oil can be cleaned of impurities by chemical processes and reused. In times of decreasing oil reserves, large quantities of this valuable raw material can be recycled.

Only if the oil is mixed with foreign substances such as brake fluid or coolant can the mixture be incinerated in hazardous waste plants. If you are aware of any contamination of this kind, state the waste oil accordingly when you dispose of it.

If you do not dispose of the waste oil properly and pour it into the environment, you are liable to heavy fines. Just one drop of oil can contaminate large quantities of groundwater. The penalties are therefore correspondingly high. Depending on how much waste oil has been thrown away and whether it has reached surface waters or groundwater, fines of € 25 to € 100,000 are imposed. With improper disposal of a normal oil filling quantity of an engine (approx. 5 litres) the punishment already lies with several thousand euro.


Mayka Nehrkorn

Product Manager Automotives