How to Dispose of an Oil filter

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Although do-it-yourselfers commonly recycle the waste oil drained from their personal vehicles, some do not know how to properly dispose of old oil filters, which are also considered hazardous waste.
There are two suggested methods to accomplish this task.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic jugs with lids
  • Funnel
  • Hammer
  • Large nail or awl
  • Sawdust (optional)
  • Modern oil filters have an anti-drain valve incorporated into the filter, which is good for the engine but makes it difficult to drain the filter before disposing of it. Several ounces of oil are trapped inside of each used oil filter, posing a real pollution problem when they deteriorate and release the trapped waste oil into a landfill.

  • Federal guidelines call for used oil filters to be either "hot drained" or else crushed and drained before disposal. Some states have more restrictive requirements. Commercial oil changing outlets are required by law to recycle waste oil and oil filters. The larger outlets and many parts houses will usually accept and dispose of both your old oil and oil filters, free of charge -- especially if you bought your parts there.

  • If permitted in your state, you can "hot drain" your own filters as follows. First, change your oil and filter after a 10-minute drive so that the engine is warmed up. Hot oil thins out and will drain faster and more thoroughly.

  • Drain most of the oil out of the filter by dumping it into your oil collection jug, using a funnel. Then lay the filter on its side and puncture a hole in it about a quarter of an inch from the bottom, using a hammer and large nail or awl. Then place the filter in a funnel over the jug in a protected area and let it drain for 12 hours, to meet federal standards.

  • You can dump some sawdust in the filter (optional) to absorb any residual oil, wrap it in a plastic bag, and put it in your trash. Take the waste oil to a commercial garage or transfer station for recycling.

Tips & Warnings

  • Many smaller auto repair shops will gladly take your waste oil to burn in waste-oil furnaces they have to heat their shops in winter.
  • Use caution when handling hot oil.
  • Waste oil is hazardous to your skin with prolonged contact.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images
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