Bulk oil and no more containers to the land fill -?

I change my own oil as I know lots of people here do. The only thing that I’ve ever found problematic about this is that I am an avid recycler. Pretty much all oil containers are just #2 plastic, but no one wants them because of oil contamination. Getting rid of the old oil is easy - but no one wants the containers.

I’ve always thought that one or more of the corporate chain auto parts places should start an “oil exchange” program for the DIY’er. They purchase and keep oil in bulk drums (the most common weights), and people can “enroll” to receive 2 oil jugs - one for clean, and one for dirty.

At oil change time you bring your 2 jugs, pour you old oil into their recovery bin, have your “clean” jug filled with 4, 4.5, or 5 qts., grab a filter and go. Poof - its quick and easy for the user and bajillions of tons of oil contaminated plastic is kept out of landfills.

The chain gets to advertise how “green” it is trying to be, spends less time shuffling stock, “captures” a big piece of the DIY oil change market (and the other associated purchases), and both seller and buyer realize cost savings based on the potential for bulk pricing.

The only downside I can imagine (other than that there will likely be limits on brand and weight availability) would involve logistics - but it just can’t be that hard to work out.

I’m just curious as to what other oil changers might think about the whole thing.

Up in Northern Maine, they throw em in the wood stove and they burn right up. They do this at service stations. Didn’t have pumps when we did this. Old oil gets burned in a used oil furnace.

Ouch! I think I’d much rather send the plastic to the landfill than melt it away and send its toxic mix up in plumes of smoke. Though I know that some plastics can be safely burned - “safe” is very relative in this context, and it would be best to just not have the waste to begin with. Only wood bonfires in my back yard.

Just Consider the Empty Quart Bottles As A Bonus. Cut The Tops Off And Use Them In Your Shop / Garage To Keep Screws And Nails In Or Simply Burn Them.

I’d hate to think I was putting the folks who work for companies making the bottles, out of a job. Many have families and they have to eat, too. I think this recycling can be carried too far and hurt our economy at a time we need more consuming, not less.


I switched to one of those oil change jugs, means it has to be emptied each change. Less convenient, but gets away from the jugs disposal problem. As for your idea, might work, but not at a Walmart.

There was a time when most oil was sold “bulk”. Service stations had bulk oil dispensers and out on the island, sold it in refillable glass bottles similar to milk bottles.

The problems:

Inventory control. "You mean that drum is empty already??"
Quality control. What’s really in that drum??
Shelf Space. What are we going to put on 80’ of prime shelving?
Brand Preference. "WAAAhhhh!! You don’t have MY brand! WwAAAaaahhhh…

Ok Nero. While we’re at it lets bring back DDT, asbestos, and leaded paints.

Cigroller, I can’t get the picture to focus. It’s just a blurry Collage.

DDT is staging a comeback in some areas to fight malaria and west nile virus that flourished with mosquitos when it was banned. Unintended consequences arise when people don’t think through problems thoroughly as with my example of discontinuing the use of plastic bottles.

I’m sure I grew up around leaded paint and asbestos (in insulation, floor tiles, and car brakes and clutches). People didn’t know of all the dangers and kept things in perspective. Now people panic over the thought of it to the point of ridiculous laws and regulations (think HazMat suits) that make some folks wealthy.

You’ll be happy to know that my wife recycles some household garbage. There’s one of those recycling places where she works fifty miles from here. It’s free of charge and reduces our trash. Also, I collect my drain oil and take it back to the auto parts store. We are saving the planet. When recycling saves money on trash disposal and is convenient, it makes sense.


I have a few five quart jugs for collecting old oil. Sometimes, when I haul my old oil away for recycling, I leave the oil in the jugs, so they probably get thrown away with other hazardous waste at the auto parts store. The jugs that don’t get filled with old oil get drained and go out in my recycle bin.

Even if some people don’t believe in global warming, I should hope we can agree that making the air toxic is bad.

I like it. I think it could work, especially if you can get some sort of price advantage. These days, since pretty much every car takes 5w-30, you could just have that “on tap” and if people want a fancier brand or a different weight, they can go for the bottles. That’s basically how Jiffy Lube does it-- they’ve only got drums of conventional 5w-30 and use bottles for everything else.

Wait a minute here, this Forum advises not to stop at these “chains” “even for directions”. Now you want them to help in this program that is sure to cost them money but you won’t take your car there for service? sounds like a “conflict of interest”

Here at my Ford dealer we have bulk 5w20, 5w30, 10w30, 10w30 & 15w40 for diesels. and Mercon V for dispensing to the shop.
To every DIY who buys quart bottles we offer
" if you have the container to put it in , we can sell you bulk for less, AND when you’re done, bring your old oil here."

…no takers.

But bulk sure has made a massive difference in the shop trash truck ! :))

I have a 12qt container I drain my oil into. Then just take this to the recycle center and dump the oil out…then reuse it.

Thus you can bet, they’ll make their money off you one way or the other.

Its not about oil change chains - its about auto parts chains.

Ken, I just had one of those duh moments - like maybe I should start calling around to find out if anyone in my area will fill a jug for me from a bulk supply. If I had your Ford dealer around I’d be a taker. Here’s the thing though - most anyone buying a quart of oil at a dealer is not likely a regular DIY oil changer. We don’t go to dealers!

The difference in the trash truck is exactly the point!

Right. Where to put the old oil is easy. Its what to do with the new oil container(s) that I just emptied. I’d rather have one that I keep filling with fresh oil again and again.

My real problem is that whole world has not set itself up for my own convenience. What a drag.

Me too.
Duh, This idea would work great in the parts houses like Auto Zone and such. They already have a bulk tank for used oil.

Market your idea and make a million bucks.

The retail counter here has sold 22 oil change setups so far this year and that includes a few 15 qt diesels. No one even blinked at the bulk idea.

The shop’s bulk output so far this year has been ;
1800 gallons of 5w20
1000 gal 5w30
200 gal 10w30
800 gal 10w30 diesel
and 500 gal 15w40 diesel
so youall can see how many plastic quart bottles have been saved by attracting customers into the dealer for a 29.95 oil change.

All the used oil ( even what’s in the filters ) is picked up for recycle.

I’m sure I grew up around leaded paint and asbestos (in insulation, floor tiles, and car brakes and clutches). People didn’t know of all the dangers and kept things in perspective. Now people panic over the thought of it to the point of ridiculous laws and regulations (think HazMat suits) that make some folks wealthy.

I take it you never knew someone who’s died from Mesothelioma. Maybe your view will change when you see a strong 6’4 230lb man at the age of 44…dwindle down to 120lbs before he finally died. I for one am EXTREMELY HAPPY for this regulation. We need more like them.

The one I have is 12qts…What kind of car you driving where it takes 12 quarts. For me (and most here) that’s two oil changes (or one oil change per car). That means I have to go to the dump about 5 times a year.

Walmart is doing it now. They take your used oil back in the oil container you bought it in.