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You can recycle used motor oil at this new North Vancouver facility

Bring your used oil and anitfreeze to this new facility located at the North Shore Recycling and Waste Centre

A new oil recycling centre in North Vancouver is making it a lot easier for North Shore DIY auto enthusiasts to get rid of that old engine oil that may have previously sat collecting dust in a corner of the garage.

On Thursday (Sept. 16), the BC Used Oil Management Association – a not-for-profit group dedicated to the collection and recycling of used motor oil, oil filters, oil containers, used antifreeze and antifreeze containers – in partnership with Metro Vancouver, opened the new facility out of a modified sea-container in the existing North Shore Recycling and Waste Centre in North Vancouver. The new facility will provide North Shore residents with an easy, free, eco-friendly place to return used oil and antifreeze materials.

“It's needed here on the North Shore – we really needed an oil and antifreeze and filter recycling option, and this was the best facility on the North Shore,” said David Lawes, CEO of the BCUOMA. “[The Recycling and Waste Centre] is where everyone comes … and so we're happy to provide the infrastructure to put [an oil recycling facility] in place.”

According to a BCUOMA release, used oil can be re-refined into new lubricating oil or sold as raw materials to be used for manufacturing or energy products, and used oil filters contain metal, which is recycled into metal products like rebar, nails and wire. Used oil and antifreeze containers are recycled and used to manufacture new oil containers, drainage tiles, and parking curbs. Used antifreeze is refined and reused as new automotive antifreeze.

Oil recycled in North Vancouver is taken right next door, to a refinery in Burnaby, said Lawes.

“Three-quarters of the oil in British Columbia goes to the refinery four kilometres down the road and is turned back into new motor oil and sold on retail shelves,” he said. “We have a refinery that turns old motor oil into new lubricating oil. It’s a really unique story for British Columbia – most provinces don’t have that – and it’s a real asset. There’s a great circular economy story there about turning old oil into new motor oil, and putting it right back into the marketplace. … And antifreeze, 100 per cent of that is collected and put back into the market as new antifreeze.”

District of North Vancouver Mayor Mike Little was on site Thursday as the new facility was unveiled.

“It’s very convenient, makes it easy to recycle products that in the past you were always left wondering ‘what am I going to do with this?’” he said, adding that he’ll be making the trip himself to get rid of motor oil. “I change my oil, my oil filter – particularly on my motorbike – but it always makes a big mess. Once I hunt around for all the things that I've accidentally dropped into the oil as I'm doing the project, then I need to find a place to recycle the oil properly.”

There are important environmental reasons for providing easily accessible oil recycling facilities like the new one on the North Shore, said Jack Froese, chairman of Metro Vancouver's zero waste committee.

“Making it easier for residents to responsibly recycle potentially hazardous items free of charge is a high priority for us,” stated Froese, in a release. “We’re pleased to offer this convenient, environmentally friendly and free option to North Shore residents, and will continue to expand waste reduction and recycling opportunities around the region.”

The best plan for recycling oil or antifreeze is to bring it to the recycling centre in the container you bought it in, said Lawes. The recycling centre will handle the liquid and take the container as well.

One more important tip from Lawes is to get used oil to the recycling centre as soon as possible.

“Don’t let it sit there in your garage,” he said. “If we can get it back here quick and clean, we can turn that back into new motor oil – and that’s the ultimate environmental solution. … It's a good news story all around. It's good for the residents, and it helps us meet our objectives, too.”

The oil recycling centre is located at the North Shore Recycling and Waste Centre, 30 Riverside Dr., in North Vancouver. The recycling centre is open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays and statutory holidays.  

Here is a link to a YouTube video showing the installation of the new facility at the recycling centre