Alberta Used Oil Management Association

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What can be recycled?

Alberta has several recycling programs that help divert valuable materials from our landfills and waterways. The used oil materials recycling program facilitates the recycling of used lubricating oil (e.g., automotive oil), oil filters, and oil containers.

Does Alberta’s used oil management program recycle cooking oil?

No, Alberta’s used oil management program encourages the collection and processing of lubricating oil (e.g., automotive oil), oil filters, and oil containers. Please consult with your local municipality on how to most effectively dispose of cooking oil, fats, grease, and other household waste.

Where is my nearest used oil materials drop-off location?

You can find your nearest drop-off location using our Find A Drop-off Location search.

What if I have large quantities of used oil materials (e.g., more than 20 litres of used lubricating oil or more than 20 filters)?

If you or your business have larger quantities of used oil, oil filters, or oil containers (e.g., more than the quantity allowed by your local collection site, which is often 20 litres of oil or 20 oil filters), please contact a local, registered collector to arrange collection.

Why is it important to recycle used lubricating oil (e.g., automotive oil) materials?

Used lubricating oil (e.g., automotive oil) is considered a hazardous waste. Rather than contaminating our waterways and land, it can be collected, processed, and put to good use again through recycling.

Oil filters and containers are valuable products. Rather than sending them to landfill, they can help fuel our economy and be transformed into valuable new products.

What if my used lubricating oil (e.g., automotive oil) is mixed with water, antifreeze, paint, solvents, or other materials?

If your used lubricating oil (e.g., automotive oil) contains water, antifreeze, paint, solvent, or any other materials then it is contaminated. Contaminated used oil is not accepted as part of Alberta’s used oil materials recycling program, and should be treated or disposed as per Alberta laws. Your best treatment or disposal option depends on the type of contamination. If you believe that your used oil is contaminated, then please contact a local, registered collector, a hazardous waste management company, or your local municipality for information about how to dispose of it safely.

What do they make when they recycle used oil materials?

High quality used lubricating oil (e.g., automotive oil) can be refined into new oil. Lower quality used oil can be processed into a fuel that can be used by pulp mills, cement plants, asphalt plants, and other industrial applications.

Oil filters and metal oil containers can be crushed and processed by a metal recycler to make construction materials, including rebar and pipe.

Plastic oil containers have a large number of uses. They can be turned into new containers, railway ties, fence posts, patio furniture, and much more.

Who pays for Alberta’s used oil materials recycling program?

Alberta operates an industry-driven program. This means that companies that sell or import oil materials into the Alberta market pay an Environmental Handling Charge (EHC) on them. These companies are known as first-sellers and they are required by law to register with the Alberta Used Oil Management Association (AUOMA) and remit EHCs. The EHCs are used to fund the collection and processing of used oil, oil filters, and oil containers.

What are Environmental Handling Charges (EHCs), and what are the rates?

Environmental Handling Charges (EHCs) are an eco-fee paid to AUOMA by companies that sell or import lubricating oil (e.g., automotive oil), oil filters, and/or oil containers into the Alberta market.

The rates are:

Material for Recycling Environmental Handling Charges
 Oil sold into the market  $0.05/litre
 Oil container sold into the market  $0.05/litre of container size
 Oil filter less than 203 mm (8”) in length  $0.50/unit
 Oil filter 203 mm (8”) or larger  $1.00/unit

Are Environmental Handling Charges (EHCs) passed along to consumers?

Yes, often these fees are passed down to the retailer and consumer. For example, if you get an oil change on a standard, four-cylinder car then you should expect to pay a fee of about $0.90. If you believe that you are paying too much, then please ask your service provider to explain its fee.

What is the Alberta Used Oil Management Association’s (AUOMA) role?

AUOMA facilitates the responsible collection and recycling of used lubricating oil (e.g., automotive oil) materials. It collects funds from companies that sell lubricating oil, including containers, and oil filters into the Alberta market and uses that funding to incent recycling opportunities across the province. The incentives encourage other Alberta businesses to collect and recycle the used oil materials. Albertans with small quantities of materials (e.g., 20 litres of oil; 20 oil filters) are able to drop-off their materials for collection and recycling at more than 230 locations across the province. Albertans with larger quantities of materials should contact a local, registered collector to arrange collection.

Do other provinces operate used oil materials recycling associations?

How much used oil material do Albertans recycle each year?

In 2016, Albertans recycled:

  • 86, 119, 000 litres of used lubricating oil
  • 7, 413, 000 oil filters
  • 2, 166, 000 kilograms of used oil containers

Where can I learn more?

Take some time to explore our website and read our 2017 – 2019 Business Plan or our 2016 Annual Report. If you still have questions then please contact us.

What other materials can I recycle in Alberta?

You can get a full list of recyclable materials, including where they can be recycled, through Alberta’s Recycling Hotline or by calling 1-800-463-6326.