To facilitate the recycling of used lubricating oil materials in Alberta, the Alberta Used Oil Management Association (AUOMA) collects funds from companies that sell or import oil, oil filters, and oil containers into the Alberta market. These funds, called Environmental Handling Charges (EHCs), are used to fund AUOMA’s used oil recycling materials program, which uses the funds to encourage the collection and recycling of used oil materials.

To encourage the recycling of used oil materials, AUOMA pays a financial recycling incentive called a Return Incentive (RI) to companies that register with it and are approved by the Government of Alberta to process used oil materials. These companies are called Registered Processors, and they are responsible for working with and paying any companies that they have agreements with to collect and bring used oil materials to their facilities. In other words, AUOMA pays Registered Processors for the materials that they recycle, and these processors in turn pay Registered Collectors for the materials that they collect and bring to them for recycling.

Alberta’s Registered Processors
Alberta’s Registered Collectors

Obtaining Government Approval

To become an AUOMA Registered Processor, you must first obtain government approval to process used lubricating oil materials in the jurisdiction where you wish to operate. Next, you must demonstrate to AUOMA that you can recycle used oil materials into marketable products.

When you are approved by government and prepared to demonstrate your readiness to AUOMA, you must:

  • Apply to AUOMA to become a Registered Processor by completing and submitting a fully complete application form. Incomplete application forms will not be accepted.
  • Review the AUOMA Manual for Registered Collectors and Processors, which provides details on AUOMA’s program and outlines the operational requirements that must be met by Registered Processors and Registered Collectors before processors will be eligible to receive RIs.

Recycling Incentives

Financial recycling incentives called Return Incentives (RIs) are paid to AUOMA Registered Processors. Only government-approved processors can become AUOMA Registered Processors. The amount of the RI paid to Registered Processors is based on the quantity (kilograms or litres) of used oil materials received at the processor’s facility multiplied by the applicable zone rate for the zone in which the material was collected. There are six zones in Alberta, and the RIs paid on used oil, oil filters, and oil containers differ by zone.

Only used oil material collected and processed by AUOMA Registered Collectors and AUOMA Registered Processors is eligible for RIs. Processors wishing to collect materials directly must also apply to become a Registered Collector. Processors may also receive used oil materials through third party Registered Collectors. AUOMA does not regulate or become involved in the agreements, including terms of payment, established between Registered Collectors and Registered Processors.

Processors must abide by all program requirements, including submitting applicable documentation, to be eligible to receive AUOMA RIs. Program requirements are outlined in the Manual for Registered Collectors and Processors.

The Market

Alberta’s used oil materials recycling program is an industry-driven market. This means that companies that sell or import oil materials into Alberta’s market pay to incent the collecting and recycling of these materials when they reach the end of their use. The role of AUOMA is to facilitate the recycling of used oil materials. To do this, it offers opportunities for Albertans to learn about recycling used oil materials and pays Registered Processors financial recycling incentives to collect and process used oil materials.

The purpose of paying processors financial incentives to recycle used oil materials is to encourage them to implement the most efficient processes possible to collect and then recycle materials from around the province. Registered Processors work with Registered Collectors to find sources of used oil materials. The more efficient the overall collection and recycling process, the more profit they will make from the recycling incentives.

In 2017, more than 165 million litres of lubricating oil, 8.7 million filters, and 45.5 million oil containers were sold into Alberta’s market. In the same year, more than 84 per cent of the oil was recovered along with more than 87 per cent of oil filters and 104 per cent* of oil containers. Alberta’s collectors play an important role in ensuring that as many of these materials as possible are collected and delivered to companies that process them for recycling.

*This number is more than 100 per cent because Albertans also dropped off other types of plastic containers at collection sites.