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Used Oil Recycling Program

Give Your Oil a Fresh Start


Used motor oil is a large source of the pollution in our state's waterways. Every year, Rhode Island do-it-yourselfers discard an estimated 1.4 million gallons. Much of this goes down storm drains, on the ground (sometimes to kill weeds) or into a trashcan and then to a landfill. If it's disposed of in any of these ways it could contaminate ground or surface waters--used motor oil contains lead and other toxic substances. Here's what happens when oil and water mix:

  • One quart of oil will foul the taste of 250,000 gallons of water.
  • One pint of oil can create an acre-sized slick on surface water.
  • Oil kills fish and other aquatic life. It can even be carried into our food.
  • Oil poured down the drain can kill the bacteria needed to break down human wastes in the sewage treatment plant or in your septic system.
  • Oil poured on the ground can poison neighboring wells.


You have an oil well in your car! Oil never wears out; it just gets dirty! Recycling cleans the oil to be used again. Recycling oil saves a valuable resource, and helps cut down our reliance on overseas suppliers. Recycled oil is as good a lubricant as new oil. Or it can be burned as fuel to produce heat or electricity - it's as good as coal, and cleaner, too!

One gallon of used motor oil will produce more than one half-gallon of clean motor oil. It takes 42 gallons of crude oil to produce the same amount.

Since the program began in 1988, Rhode Island do-it-yourselfers have turned in over a million and a half gallons of used motor oil. That's quite a gusher for a state that's so much smaller than Texas!


Recycling used oil is as easy as 1-2-3.

  • Drain used oil into a suitable container with a tight-fitting cap, such as a thoroughly rinsed, heavy, plastic jug, which can be used over and over.
    Note: Never mix used motor oil with any other liquids, such as: antifreeze, gasoline, paint thinner, solvents, cooking oil, or water!
  • Take the used oil to the Oil Recycling Facility in your community. Deposits are limited to five gallons.
  • The used oil will be picked up for refining or reprocessing.


From a RI household: For less than 10 gallons, your city or town may offer special motor oil instructions for its residents. View the list of city/towns here. For any amount, you can also call Rhode Island Resource Recovery Coorporation's Eco-Depot Program for a FREE appointment at 942-1430 ext. 241 or make an appointment online.

From any RI source (e.g. household, business, school): View statewide options for disposal that are open to anyone. Fees may apply.

Need More Information? Contact DEM at (40l) 222-4700, Ext. 4412.

Service Alert

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, walk-in service at DEM's Permit Application Center (PAC) at DEM Headquarters in Providence has been paused. The Office is still accepting and processing applications and honoring all scheduled in-person appointments. Applications can be dropped off directly outside the PAC, and the team will respond within one to two business days.

Contact 401-222-4700 ext. 7265 or email with questions or to set up an appointment for other services. If you are seeking assistance for wetlands or OWTS/septic systems, please call 401-222-4700 and ask for the person on-call for the specific program.

More updates

Contact OCTA
Ron Gagnon, PE; Chief
235 Promenade Street
Providence, RI 02908-5767
Phone: (401) 222-6822 (OCTA)
Fax: (401) 222-3810