Residents’ Recycling of Oil Rises Steadily


It used to be that dumping used motor oil into backyards, trash cans and storm drains was just illegal. Now, officials said, it also seems to be going out of style.

According to a report from the Ventura County Solid Waste Management Department, county residents have been recycling more oil each month than they did the month before. Officials attribute the trend to increased environmental awareness and concern.

Records show that 10,056 gallons of oil were collected by the county’s 56 oil collection centers in March 1997, the most recent reporting period. In March 1996, 6,555 gallons came in. Each month in between showed a steady increase.


“It’s a hazardous waste,” said waste management analyst Terri Thomas. “Anything you dump down your sidewalk is affecting the environment quite a bit.”

Coastal regions such as Ventura County are especially sensitive to contamination, she said, because waste that is dumped in local drains goes directly to the ocean. Just one quart of oil can pollute up to 250,000 gallons of water, she said.

Since 1993, California’s oil collection centers and campaigns for oil recycling awareness have been funded by a 4-cent-per-quart tax on oil.

Education campaigns have taken place in schools, at the county fair and on local radio stations.

For information on the county’s used-oil collection centers and other recycling programs, call (800) 253-2687.