Automobiles are great for transportation, but not for the environment. That’s why the Greenville County Solid Waste Division has promoted and conducted used motor oil recycling since 1993. Those efforts are about to get a financial boost.
Greenville County Council approved the division’s request for a $22,545 grant issued by the Department of Health and Environmental Control on Tuesday. The county finance committee approved the request on May 23.
The Solid Waste Division will receive the funds on July 1.
The county plans to use $5,000 of the grant for its “environmental importance of recycling used oil” program, according to county documents.
The educational program includes promotion for used motor oil recycling through digital billboards, digital billboard trucks, radio stations and news sites.
It also includes landfill tours and classroom presentations at Greenville County schools, according to recycling coordinator Wendy McNatt.
The county plans to use $13,595 for the purchase and installation of a gas and oil mixture tank at the Blackberry Valley Convenience Center. According to county documents, the current tank was contaminated with chemicals.
The remaining funds will be used for Haz-Mat Environmental Service costs and recycling seminars and educational programs for employees.
Greenville County began collecting used motor oil and its bottles in 1993 after the S.C. Solid Waste Policy and Management Act of 1991 banned the disposal of motor oil into sewers, drainage systems, septic tanks, surface water and groundwater.
There are about 900 used motor oil collection sites in South Carolina, according to DHEC. In Greenville County, there are seven used oil-recycling sites. Some offer recycling for farm oil and oil and gasoline mixtures.
In 1995, South Carolina established its used motor oil grant program that provides local governments the funds to establish and maintain oil-recycling centers and its related programs or equipment.
Greenville County has received state funding since 1996. It had the fifth-largest amount of recycled used motor oil — 137.99 tons — last year.
McNatt said population, socioeconomic background and collection opportunities affect data. However, the county’s large amount of recycled used motor oil could provide several benefits for Greenville.[infogram id=”4934197f-d235-4a7e-b5f3-b667ce5df323″ prefix=”p3k” format=”interactive” title=”South Carolina Used Oil Recycling”]
Why should you recycle used motor oil?
Recycling used motor oil prevents the sludge from entering local water sources, which protects surrounding wildlife.
One pint of improperly disposed used motor oil can contaminate a one-acre body of water, which can kill floating aquatic organisms, according to DHEC.
But it can also affect humans. One gallon of improperly disposed used motor oil can contaminate 1 million gallons of fresh water. That amount of fresh water can provide drinking water to 50 people for a year.
Also, two gallons of used motor oil can generate enough electricity to run an average household for a day, blow-dry your hair 216 times, vacuum your house for 15 months and run your television for 180 hours.
Used motor oil is used in asphalt plants, steel mills and other industrial facilities. It can also be re-refined as fuel oils and used in space heaters in automotive bays and city garages to reduce their heating costs, according to DHEC.
According to the American Petroleum Institute, oil is the largest energy source in the U.S. It supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s overall energy needs.
Recycled used motor oil reduces foreign oil dependency. That can lower fuel prices and save consumers trillions of dollars, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
In fact, more than a quarter of the nation’s oil is imported. In 2014, that cost the economy almost $116 billion. And oil price stocks and price manipulation cost the economy $2 trillion from 2004 to 2008. The energy department’s standards, which were established from 2012 to 2025, are expected to save $1.7 trillion if successful.