Used Oil

Used Oil

Illustration of an oil canister and drum with recycle icon

We provide education and outreach about how to properly dispose of used oil. If you change your own motor oil, we can help connect you to the local resources you need to ensure that your oil is recycled. Read below for more information or come visit us at our next event.

Why is recycling used oil important?

Did you know that the oil from just one oil change can contaminate one million gallons of fresh water? That’s one year's supply of fresh water for 50 people!1

Oil that has been dumped into storm drains, leaked on the ground, or even tossed into trash cans poses a major threat to our soil, groundwater, streams, and the Bay. By recycling your oil, you can reduce this pollution threat. Additionally, used motor oil never wears out — it can be recycled, cleaned, and used again and again.4

Used oil is also considered hazardous waste in California. It is illegal to dump it, and must be disposed of properly!

How to recycle used oil:

After you have changed your oil make sure to:

  1. Put the used oil into a sealed container
  2. Make sure the oil filter has been drained
  3. Seal the oil filter in a leak-free bag 

Your used oil and filters are now ready to be brought to a recycling location!

Oil should NOT be mixed with antifreeze, transmission fluid, or any other automotive fluid. Contaminated oil will not be accepted for recycling.2

Where to recycle used oil:

  1. Certified Collection Center
  2. Curbside collection in the City of San Jose
  3. Santa Clara Household Hazardous WasteProgram
  4. Earth 911 Recycling Tool

Recycle Used Oil LogoLook for this used oil recycling symbol at locations where you can drop off used oil for recycling.

This sign indicates a drop-off location for used oil and filters! Remember to drain your filters and place them in a sealed bag.

Recycle Used Oil and Filters
1. Certified Collection Centers (CCC)

The state of California has developed a Used Oil Certified Collection Center Program. There are over 80 automotive repair or service shops in Santa Clara County that participate as CCCs and are authorized to accept used motor oil from residents for free.

At these locations, you can bring up to 5 gallons of used oil at a time. Only some CCCs accept used oil filters, so make sure you check before dropping them off. Additionally, CCCs can pay you 40 cents per gallon of used oil.2

2. Curbside collection in the City of San Jose

In San Jose, you can call your curbside recycling collection company, and they will provide free oil jugs and filter bags. Place filled oil jugs and filter bags on the curb near your recycling cart for collection. The driver will leave replacement oil jugs and filter bags as well.2

3. Santa Clara Household Hazardous Waste Program

You can make an appointment with the Santa Clara Household Hazardous Waste Program to drop off used oil and filters for free at one of two drop-off locations (one in San Jose and one in San Martin). You can either call or schedule an appointment online. 

They accept containers of 5 gallons or less and only 15 gallons of oil at one time. They also accept oil filters. You will have to present proof of address such as a driver's license.3

4. Earth 911 Recycling Search Tool 

Not in Santa Clara County? Use the Earth 911 Recycling Search Tool to look up your location and where you can properly dispose of used oil and filters. 

This is also a helpful tool to find a convenient drop-off location for items that are difficult to get rid of, such as other types of hazardous waste!

Recycle Used Oil Team Logos