Why is mixing hydraulic fluid/power steering fluid with oil to be recycled/disposed of bad?

I recently saw someone mention that one should NEVER mix hydraulic fluid or power steering fluid with motor oil to be recycled and was curious why this was so bad. They made a big point to say never to do this but didn’t explain why.

Quite simple really. Other fluids turn the used oil into hazardous waste. Those cannot be recycled into usable fluid, and must be disposed of (read buried or burned off).

See pages 15-17 of the PDF at this link:

Our recycling area has two collection tanks…One for “Used Oil” and one for “Anti-freeze”…They don’t seem to care what flavor of “used oil” you dump in the tank…I would guess used motor oil and ATF make up 98% of what gets dumped in the tank…

Our town (and many other towns in NH) use the recycled oil to heat their DPW buildings with waste oil burners. Hydraulic fluid or power steering fluid is NOT good for waste oil heaters.

@chaissos That document from Texas has a critical error. It includes brake fluid as “oil”. It is most definitely NOT oil. It is glycol based if DOT 3,4 or 5.1 or silicone based if DOT 5.

The oils mentioned in the original post, motor oil, hydraulic fluid and power steering fluid are ALL hydrocarbon-based oils and should be able to be recycled as long as they are not contaminated with solvents or glycol based chemicals like brake fluid or coolant.

@Mustangman Well, it’s not my document, so I can’t fix it.

However, in their defense, there IS such a thing as a mineral based brake fluid, so…

Meh. I recycle my oil at the local scrap yard, where they use it to run their aluminum smelter. Motor oil, ATF, it’s all good–heck, I could probably toss in the fryer grease, for all the difference it’d make.

It’s such a good laugh reading the convoluted regulations written by committees of paralegal and environmental pollywogs. They make such a great effort to hide the gist in a mountain of fecundity.

Its called “CYA”

LOL, “committees of paralegal and environmental pollywogs.” I LOVE it!

We also have a local scrap yard that burns waste oil. It all goes into the same tank and the only thing they watch out for is antifreeze and water based products. The EPA may not be happy about this but the yard has been active for over 40 years. When I asked the guy behind the counter…all he said was “Oil is oil.”

It also depends on what the recycler is doing with the collected oil. It all if that is what you are doing but there are some other uses. In the refining process some of the volatiles found in brake fluid and such get gassed off. It is not really that good to breath so mixing it ensures that whoever lives downwind of the plant gets a good lungful.

We have a heritage park here with a steam train that goes around the premises and give visitors a free ride. Instead of coal it uses old motor oil, filtered, and fired directly into the boiler, and as a result does not leave a lot of smoke like the coal fired trains did.

It also saves by not needing a “fireman” since no coal needs to be shovelled. It required a special city permit for that.

Yeah, I know you don’t own that one @chaissos. Just the messenger. The pollywogs are responsible. I just love that reference!

RK,more like a mtn of Bull Drek sometimes.