|Automotive workshops must deal with the disposal of used oil filters effectively, legally and safely with a view to minimising the impact on the environment.
While New Zealand has no specific regulations governing the management of used oil and filters, guidelines from the Ministry of Environment are available online at www.mfe.govt.nz and are intended to be read in conjunction with the Dangerous Goods Act 1974, the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 and the Resource Management Act 1991.
Workshop owners and managers need to ensure their oil handling practises are both safe and legal. Oil must be drained and filters changed in such a manner that no spills occur.
Used oil must never be mixed with contaminants such as petrol, diesel, solvents, water or engine coolant. The used oil must be stored in dedicated facilities for the various types of used oil and the facilities must be designed, labelled and operated to minimise oil spillage and contamination.
Most importantly any workshop staff that deal with the used oil need to be aware of the correct material handling procedures and the need to keep used oil separate from other dangerous goods.
Workshop owners should be aware that each local body has its own rules and regulations on how to deal with waste oil and filters.
Removal of used oil and filters must only be done through a commercial collection agent such as Environmental Recovery Services (ERS), and records of collections must be kept available for three years.
According to ERS national manager Darrel Holt, at least 40 percent of used oil filters from New Zealand workshops are still ending up in landfill sites a figure he personally finds unacceptable when technology is available to deal with this problem in a more environmentally friendly manner.
A member of the Transpacific Industries Group, ERS purchased the first purpose built oil filter crushing machine of its type known as the “Kruncher” in August 2009.
Darrel says that more than 400 litres of used oil is extracted per tonne of used oil filters that are fed into the Kruncher.
ERS says the Kruncher not only provides cleaner metal product for recycling but it also removes 95 percent of the residual oil in the filter paper which is then processed for use in hot house boilers and cement and lime kilns.
As part of the service ERS provides workshops with a 240 litre wheely bin which will hold up to approximately 160 automotive oil filters.
ERS also offers workshops the ability to safely dispose of waste oil, solvents, oily rags, brake fluid, and coolant.