• Oil is toxic to fish and other animals and plants.
  • One quart of oil can contaminate a million gallons of drinking water.
  • Undrained oil filters can contain up to 12 ounces of motor oil.


  • Collect oil in a clean container with screw cap, such as the original container or clean, labeled plastic jug. Do not mix oil with any other liquids. Cap container to keep out dirt and water.
  • Do NOT dispose of used oil in the trash, on the ground, down the drain, down a sewer drain, or by burning it (except in permitted oil burners).
  • Clean up spills with kitty litter, vermiculite or rags, place in a bag and dispose of in the trash.
  • Oil filters: Puncture domed part of the oil filter with a sharp tool. Drain filters on a rack while they are hot for 12 hours, capture the oil for recycling as described above.

Management Options

Used Oil:

  • Return used oil for recycling to the store where you purchased it. Retailers are required to accept used oil for recycling (up to two gallons per person per day) if you have the purchase receipt.
  • Take your used oil to a municipal collection center, if available.
  • Some service stations and repair shops that do not sell motor oil but burn the oil to heat their garage will take back used oil from residents.
  • Certain quick oil change chains accept used oil. Check the Yellow Pages online for a location near you.
  • Used the MassDEP Oil Hotline: 617-556-1022. Also use this number to report retailers who are unwilling to accept used oil from customers who have receipts.

Used Oil Filters:

  • Do NOT dispose of an undrained oil filter in the trash. Follow above handling instructions for draining used oil filters.
  • Take used oil filters in a sealed bag or container to a municipal collection program in your community, if available. Many communities that collect used oil also collect used oil filters.
  • If no recycling program is available in your community, wrap the drained used oil filter in a plastic bag with absorbents such as a rag or kitty litter, and place in the trash.