USED OIL & MATERIALS RECYCLING PROGRAM

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LITRES OF USED OIL HAVE BEEN RECLAIMED SINCE 1997

Overview

Initially established by the Government of Alberta in 1997, ARMA assumed oversight of this program in October 2018. Since its inception, over 2 billion litres of used oil have been recycled, along with 160.6 million filters and 44.5 million kilograms of containers.

In 2019, ARMA started registering municipal and Indigenous collection sites in the program to support participation, with nearly 250 material collection sites registered. All collected oil products are sent to one of 14 ARMA-approved processors.

This program is integral to protecting Alberta’s environment, as oil substances and materials can cause significant damage to land and water if inappropriately discarded. That’s why ARMA, alongside stakeholders and industry leaders, took the vital step to ensure program sustainability by advocating for an environmental fee adjustment in October 2023 to help maintain this important industry’s collection, transportation, and processing network. Before this increase, environmental fees had not been updated since 2011.

High-quality used oil is refined into new lubricating oil, while filters are crushed and processed into industrial metals. Containers get new life as composite lumber, fence posts, and parking curbs after they’ve been pelletized and distributed to plastic product producers.

Eligible Products and Fees

The environmental fees Albertans pay when purchasing new lubricating oil and oil filters, ranging from $0.05 to $1.00, are used to help fund the cost of recycling them. There are a number of recycling depots (collection sites) in the province where you can take your used oil materials so they can be recycled in an effective, secure and environmentally safe manner.

Please note: To continue developing and growing our recycling industry, there will be adjustments to the environmental fees and updates to the Used Oil Recycling Bylaw effective October 1, 2023. The prices shown below (in the tabs) are the current fees. To view the adjusted fees see the Products, Definitions, and Fees or read our notice regarding the adjustments.

Lubricating oil
  • $0.06 per litre or per kilogram
Oil containers
  • $0.12 per litre of container size for containers made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or metal materials
  • $0.20 per litre of container size for containers made of non-HDPE or non-metal materials
Oil filters
  • $0.55 for a filter less than 203 mm (8″) in length 
  • $1.25 for a filter 203 mm (8″) or more in length

More Detailed Information

For more detailed information please see the current Products, Definitions, and Fees.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

From the backyard mechanic to businesses or municipalities with large fleets of vehicles, every drop of used oil, every container and every filter that is captured in the Program for recycling helps keep our landfills and waterways safe from contamination. In 2022-23 alone, Albertans recovered 82.07 million litres of used oil, collected 3.91 million kg. of oil filters, and 2.09 million kg. of oil containers.

Why are Environmental Fees changing?

When ARMA assumed responsibility for the Used Oil Program in October 2018 after the dissolution of the Alberta Used Oil Management Association (AUOMA), the program was facing significant financial sustainability challenges. Since then, ARMA has been working diligently with collection sites, recyclers, and Alberta Environment and Protected Areas (EPA) on solutions to the ongoing challenges of the Used Oil Program.

With input from key stakeholders (including registered processors), an environmental fee adjustment was identified as an urgent need to support the sustainability of the collection, transportation, and processing network for the industry. These environmental fees have not been updated since 2011 and will align Alberta’s fees with those currently being charged by other jurisdictions across Canada. The adjustment will allow the program to provide increased support to the recycling activities of registered processors, municipal collection sites, and Indigenous communities.

What if I have large quantities of used oil materials?

If you or your business have larger quantities of used oil, filters, or 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 Processor to arrange collection.

What is recycled?

Lubricating oil, e.g. automotive oil, oil filters, and oil containers.

How is it processed and what does it become?

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

Oil filters are crushed (with the residual oil captured) and processed by a metal recycler for manufacturing into construction materials such as rebar and pipe.

Plastic oil containers are pelletized and used as feedstock for products such as new containers, guardrails, fence posts, and railway ties.

Where can I recycle used oil materials in Red Deer?

Stay tuned to our What’s New page for updates on the dates of Recycling Events in Red Deer.

Does the program recycle cooking oil?

No, Alberta’s used oil materials recycling program exclusively helps fund the collection and processing of lubricating oil, e.g., engine oil, oil filters, and oil containers only. Please consult with your local municipality on how to safely handle cooking oil, fats, grease, and other household waste.

What are used oil materials recycled into?

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.

Why is it important to recycle used lubricating oil materials?

Used lubricating oil, e.g. automotive oil, is considered hazardous waste. Rather than contaminating our waterways and land, it can be collected, processed, and put to good use 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 of 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 Processor, a hazardous waste management company, or your local municipality for information about how to dispose of it safely.

Environmental Fee Info

The environmental fees Albertans pay when purchasing new oil materials help fund the cost of recycling them.

Albertans are some of the most dedicated recyclers in the world. Since 1997, Albertans have recycled over 2.0 billion litres of used oil.

  • High-quality used lubricating oil (e.g. automotive) oil is re-refined into new lubricating oil. Lower-quality used oil is processed into a fuel that can be used by pulp mills, cement plants, asphalt plants, and other industrial applications.
  • Oil filters are crushed (with the residual oil captured) and processed by a metal recycler for manufacturing into construction materials such as rebar and pipe.
  • Plastic oil containers are pelletized and used as feedstock for products such as new containers, guardrails, fence posts, and railway ties.