Seal It Up and Drop It Off: Used Motor Oil and Filter Recycling in Marin County

Working on your motorcycle while at home due to COVID-19? Planning an oil change but not sure what to do with your used motor oil and filter?

Yamaha V-Star 650 Cruiser Oil Change

Whether you’ve got a DR650, 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 motor 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 Marin County for this post, the options are similar across 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. A used oil filter can hold up to a quart of oil! Use a funnel to pour the used 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 fluids or substances so that it can be recycled again and again. If it does get contaminated with anything, including water or other car fluids, make sure to take it to your local Household Hazardous (HHW) Facility – read more below. Once your oil and filter are secure, you can take it on the road.

Used oil filter drains overnight.

Take it on the road.
Marin County has several drop-off locations where DIYers can take their used motor oil and filters for free, including auto parts stores, repair shops and recycling yards, several of which are still open during the Stay at Home period with limited hours. Zero Waste Marin created a map of all the used oil and filter collection centers, so you can easily find the closest center to drop-off your used oil and filters. If possible, wait until the Stay at Home Order is lifted and always call the drop-off location first to verify hours and limitations.

Mixed up?
Not sure if your oil is mixed with other materials, or have other Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) such as paint, antifreeze, or insecticide to get rid of as well? Both the Marin HHW Facility (all Marin County residents except Novato) and the Novato HHW Facility (only Novato residents) remain open to the public. Marin County residents can drop off a maximum of 15 gallons or 125 pounds of contaminated oil and other HHW for free at the facilities with ID and proof of residency. Visit the Marin HHW Facility or the Novato HHW Facility sites beforehand to confirm hours and requirements.

For more useful info on motorcycles, DIY oil changing, and oil and filter recycling – check out our other blog posts and the rest of the Riders Recycle site!

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