Seal It Up & Drop It Off: Recycling Used Oil & Filters in Sacramento

Change your own oil and filters? Whether you’ve got a Yamaha V-Star 650 Cruiser, a Dry-Sump Suzuki DR350 Enduro, a BMW R1150RT or any other ride, the job isn’t done until you’ve recycled your used oil AND filter. Both the oil and the steel in oil filters can be cleaned and used over and over again if they’re recycled. Though we’re focusing on the City of Sacramento for this post, the options are similar no matter where you live in California (find details for your city or county here).

Get in gear.
The first step is prep. Fully drain the used oil AND filter – ideally overnight to catch all the oil. Residents can pick up free, reusable oil and filter drainer containers like the ones in the picture below at upcoming Riders Recycle events in Sacramento. Use a funnel to pour all the oil into a clean, sturdy, leak-proof plastic container with a screw-on cap. Place the empty oil filter in a sealed plastic bag. Be sure to keep the oil clean – don’t mix it with any other materials so that it can be recycled again and again. If it does get contaminated, you’ll need to take it to your local Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Facility (read more below).

Take it on the road.
Sacramento has 50 Certified Collection Centers (CCCs) where residents can take their used motor oil and filters for free (and some will even pay you 40¢ a gallon), including auto parts stores, repair shops and recycling yards. Most centers will take up to 5 gallons of used oil at a time. Always call ahead to verify hours and limitations, and make sure to give your sealed used oil and filters to a staff member. 

Park it at the curb.
City of Sacramento residents can conveniently recycle used motor oil and filters at the curb with an appointment. Call Customer Service at 311 or (916) 264-5011 to schedule your appointment up to 48 hours before the next regularly scheduled recycling day. A maximum of two (2) gallons of used oil are accepted per appointment. Pour used oil in a clean, clear one-gallon plastic jug (like a milk or water jug) and secure the cap with tape. Put your drained oil filter in a sealed, leak-proof bag with the holes up. Place sealed containers at the end of your driveway by 6:00am for pickup on your appointment day.

Mixed up?
If your used motor oil is mixed with other materials, you have more than five gallons of used motor oil, or you have other hazardous waste such as batteries and brake fluid, you can take it to the Household Hazardous Waste Facility located at the Sacramento Recycling and Transfer Station (8491 Fruitridge Rd). Open Tuesday through Saturday, 8am to 5pm, the Sacramento HHW Facility also has a Reuse Store with free paints, cleaners and other household products available to the public!

For more useful info on motorcycles, DIY oil changing, and to pick up free oil and filter recycling gear – check out our other Riders Recycle blog posts and upcoming events!

Taking the Harley leap

The big decision is upon me. Should I buy a Harley and abandon a lifelong allegiance to bikes that go fast, handle and run well? Or do I plunk down my dough on more of the same?

It’s a choice I never thought I’d consider until recently. But it’s one I’m facing nonetheless.

For most of my riding life I’ve felt secure in the knowledge that sport bikes of Japanese or European manufacture were superior to the classic American cruiser. They represented a style that suited my quest for speed and dependability while setting me apart from the leather vest-and-black-T-shirt crowd.

My future?

But after more than three decades of riding the “right” bikes, my thinking changed. It’s hard to pinpoint when it happened. Maybe it was last fall when I was hunched over the tank of my BMW on a lonesome back road in the Arizona desert. Or it could have been more recently when a birthday sent me squarely into middle age.

I don’t know, but suddenly a Harley sounds pretty good to me.

Sure, it’ll be slow and unreliable and scrape its running boards around every turn. I won’t be able to keep up with the crotch-rocket set. Hell, they won’t even ride with me. They’re dis-owning me as we speak.

But I don’t care. I’ll be riding in comfort. I’ll be in Hog heaven.

Still, I have doubts. The prospect of owning a rolling boat anchor with about half the horsepower of my usual bikes gives me pause. Then there are the neighbors. Will they complain about all he noise?

Perhaps the biggest concern is that I’ll become like all the other Harley people. That I’ll start wearing Harley logo clothing and doff my full-coverage helmet for something out of Hogan’s Heros. Maybe I’ll sport a leather-billed cap and develop a fondness for chaps.

Well, I hope not. Then again, stranger things have happened.

Why I blame my parents for my covetous ways

When I think back on the day many decades ago I got my first motorcycle, I can hardly believe it. It seems so story-book, so unreal. And certainly, my parents were never nicer.

My bike looked just like this

I was 9 years old and woke up Christmas morning to find a brand-new Honda SL-70 under the tree. It was yellow with a black stripe across the tank and sported lights, which would soon be removed and lost forever in some forgotten storage box.

It was the beginning of a life-long interest — bordering on obsession — and the first of more than 15 motorcycles that I’ve owned. I’ve had dirt bikes, street bikes, cafe racers. Some were nice; others, junk. I bought them new and used, at flea markets and on the Internet.

Today, I scour Craigslist almost daily for good deals. The winter season is the best time for that. It’s become habit, one that takes priority over actual work. The routine: get to the office, logon, search Craigslist, then eBay. Reluctantly begin working.

I covet all things fast and exotic. And lately, as I advance into middle-age, I’m thinking for the first time about a Harley. Imagine that!

My wife, non-rider that she is, groans. I tell her it’s my parents’ fault for getting me started.
Anyway, here are the bikes on my short list of future acquisitions (I’ll be lucky to get one of them). Let’s see yours.

Ducati ST4s
Triumph Daytona 955i
Harley Road King Classic

Dream machine? The Ducati ST4s.

Swiss Army knife of bikes -- BMW R1200GS

Triumph Daytona 955i. British royalty.

The King. Name speaks for itself.