The industrial oil used in vehicle engines or industrial machinery becomes a highly polluting waste. It is so harmful to the environment that it is the first waste that the European Union expressed its concern about in the middle of the 20th century. Currently in Spain around 200,000 tons of used industrial oil are generated each year. The polluting potential is enormous if we take into account that with only two liters (which is removed in the oil change of a car) they are capable of contaminating all the water in an Olympic swimming pool and a single liter can contaminate the surface of a football field. In this AgroCorrn article, we are going to talk about pollution from used car oil.
Used oil and pollution
It is proven that it is one of the most polluting waste that exists on the planet. Mainly due to its high content of heavy metals and its low biodegradability. Its discharge is capable of contaminating both the soil and the surface and underground waters, seriously affecting the fertility of the soil, making cultivation impossible.
If the used oils are thrown into the sea, the hydrocarbon compounds can last between 10 and 15 years floating on the water. However, this polluting power can be avoided if the used oil is extracted, stored and treated properly.
Fortunately, the new regulations on used oils oblige lubricant manufacturers to take charge of the waste that their products will produce once they have been used. Last year, SIGAUS (a non-profit organization that deals with used oils) recovered 180,000 tons of oil. Two thirds of that quantity was regenerated (refined) to obtain a lubricant base again with which to manufacture new oils. Thanks to this treatment, around 80,000 tons of lubricant could be returned to the market. While to obtain the same amount in a first refining process, 28 million barrels of oil would be needed.
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