Finish the Job Right While Staying at Home in Alameda County

Spending some quality time with your motorcycle while staying at home due to COVID-19? Not sure what to do with your used oil and filter now that you’ve finished your oil change?

Pulling out oil pan

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 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 Alameda County for this post, the options are similar across California – find details for your city or county here.

Recycling pan and filter drainer

Get in gear.

The first step is prep. Fully drain the used oil AND filter – ideally overnight to catch the oil. A used oil filter can hold up to a quart of oil! If you’ve been stockpiling oil filters, be sure they’re fully drained. 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. Depending on where you live, you might be able to get free jugs and filter bags for recycling delivered to your home – find your city below for details. Be sure to keep the oil clean – don’t mix it with any other substance so that it can be recycled again and again. If it does get contaminated, make sure to take it to your local Household Hazardous (HHW) Facility – read more below. Once your oil and filter are secure, you can either park it at the curbside for recycling or take it on the road when the Shelter-In-Place Order is lifted – keep reading to decide what’s easiest for you.

Oakland Oil Filter Curbside

Park it at the curb.

If you live in one of the cities listed below, you may have access to convenient curbside oil and filter recycling! Depending on where you live and your waste hauler, you might need to prep your oil and filter a little differently to guarantee it will get picked up. Find your city below for details.

Alameda, Castro Valley, San Leandro

For Alameda County Industries customers, used motor oil and oil filters are collected curbside with single-family residential properties and complexes of two to four units. Alameda also provides curbside pickup for multifamily dwellings – call ACI (510-483-1400) before placing packaged oil on the curb for pickup. Free jugs and oil filter bags may be requested from ACI (510-483-1400 for Alameda and Castro Valley, 510-357-7282 for San Leandro), or you may use your own clean containers in Alameda and San Leandro. (Castro Valley customers must call ahead and use the containers provided by ACI.) Oil should be secure in a one gallon, screw top container. Oil filters must be contained in clear zipper-lock bags. Set up to two jugs of oil and bagged filters next to the cart, NOT INSIDE, on your service day.

Albany, Emeryville, San Lorenzo and Unincorporated

Through Waste Management, used motor oil and oil filters are collected curbside with most single-family homes and some apartments – go to their site or call 510-613-8710 to confirm service for your address and request a free jug to contain oil. Place up to four filled motor oil recycling jugs and up to two filters in sealed plastic bag curbside, next to your trash cart, not inside, the cart.


Residential households with Amador Valley Industries (AVI) can call 925-479-9545 and request up to two used motor oil containers and a heavy duty zip lock bag for the recycling of up to two used motor oil filters. On your regular collection day, place the container(s) at the curb and AVI will replace them with empty ones for your next use.

Fremont, Newark

For residential Republic Services customers in Fremont and Newark, used motor oil is collected curbside at no extra cost. For more information and to request free Oil Recycling Kits, call Customer Service at 510-657-3500.


For single-family residents in Livermore, contact Livermore Sanitation at 925-449-7300 to arrange for free delivery of oil jugs and filter bags. Place sealed jug and bag on the curb next to, not inside, your blue recycling cart on collection day.


Used motor oil and filter recycling is easy in Oakland with California Waste Solutions whether you’re in a single-family home, apartment or condo – just follow the three steps in this Oakland Recycles Guide. Email or call 510-625-5263 to order a free Motor Oil Recycling Kit (required for curbside recycling). The Motor Oil Recycling kit features a sturdy plastic gallon jug, instructions, and a special oil filter recycling bag. Place the Motor Oil Recycling Kit on the ground next to the recycle cart or bin on collection day. CWS will collect the full container(s) and replace the kit with an empty one.


Take it on the road.

If you don’t have curbside oil and filter recycling, Alameda County has over 100 drop-off locations where any DIYer 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 Shelter-In-Place period with limited hours. CalRecycle 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 Shelter-In-Place Order is lifted and always call the drop-off location first to verify current 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? Due to the Shelter-In-Place restrictions, Alameda County HHW Facilities in Oakland, Livermore and Hayward are currently closed. The Fremont HHW Facility is open limited hours (Wed-Fri 8:30am-2:30pm and Sat 8am-4pm), although current shelter in place guidelines discourage trips unless essential. Alameda County residents can drop off a maximum of 15 gallons or 125 pounds of contaminated oil and other HHW off for free at the Fremont HHW Facility with proof of residency. Visit the Fremont HHW site and call 800-606-6606 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!

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.

Does Harley ownership mean shaving your head (or other body parts)?

As stated earlier, I might soon buy a Harley, ending a more than 30-year tradition of owning only bikes that go, stop and handle well.

I’ll admit I’m now attracted to the imperfect machines. I love the thought of all that torque coupled with Lazy Boy ergonomics that should make my next 1,000-mile ride to the desert and back more enjoyable. Beside, I’m getting too old for my sports bike.

Biker man

There’s only one thing holding me up besides the hefty price tag. The bad-boy image associated with the Harley crowd is giving me pause.

To see if I could fit in with the men and women in black T-shirts and cut-off vests, I attended the 21st annual Tattoos & Blues festival in Santa Rosa.

As I pulled up I could see I’d come to the right place. Hogs lined the parking lot of the Flamingo Hotel and people with necks tats and ear gauges mingled among the chrome and flame paint.

I walked up as a leather-clad couple exited. I eavesdropped just long enough to catch a conversation about shaved body parts.

“It itches,” he said.

“How low did you take it?” she asked.

“It’s Telly Savales down there,” he replied.

I headed in, trying not to notice the two dudes in Hells Angels vests standing at the door. Apparently, the event was sponsored by the Sonoma County chapter.

Inside I inquired about the offering. Tattoos in one room and blues in another. There’s also a full bar, I was told.

Hmmm. I figured I could skip the body engraving but a little music and booze sounded good, so I started to walk in when the man extended a tattoo covered arm and stopped me.

“That’ll be $20,” he said.

“Oh, OK. Maybe I’ll come back later,” I stammered and did an about-face.

I walked outside in time to hear an Angel hawk a lugey in a planter. Two weathered women smoking cigarettes stopped talking as I walked by.

In the parking space beside my car were three bikers, unstrapping and getting ready to go in. I asked them how they liked their Road Kings. They liked them a lot.

One guy, perhaps sensing I was not yet of the “brotherhood,” pointed to a message on his tank painted in red cursive. It said “Just effing ride.”

“It doesn’t matter what you ride,” he said. “As long as you ride.”


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.