The University of Iowa

SAFETYmatters - Used Oil Disposal

Article published in the March 2019 newsletter

Used oil is an EPA regulated material and regulations direct that used oil must be recycled. In order to ensure proper management, EHS will collect and dispose of all used oil and associated waste.

used oil label



All used oils must be labeled with the words, "used oil”.  Labeling must be visible on all containers of used or waste oil, used oil filters, and oil contaminated material. 



Arranging for a Pickup 

To schedule waste collection, notify EHS by submitting the Chemical Waste Pickup Request Form.  The link to this form is available from the Waste Pick Up quick link on the main EHS webpage.


Oils are collected by EHS in glass, metal, or high-density plastic containers that are free of external contamination. Do not mix solvents or other wastes with oils. Depending upon the oil source, the generator may be responsible for having a PCB or heavy metal analysis performed prior to pick up. All used oil containers must be marked with the words, "Used Oil."

Oil Contaminated Material

Any material that is used to clean up oil spills and has become contaminated with oil is picked up by EHS for disposal. Collect material in a bucket with lid or a drum. Small amounts of contaminated material may be double bagged and boxed. Seal the containers, label, and submit a Chemical Waste Collection Pickup Request Form for removal.

Oil Filters

Oil filters must be punctured and hot drained prior to disposal. To hot-drain a filter, remove the filter from the engine when the engine is hot. Then keep the filter above 60°F while it drains for 24 hours. Collect the oil that drains from the filter and manage it as used oil. Any oil filters that are not hot drained must be disposed of as hazardous waste. Iowa law prohibits disposal of oil filters in landfills, they must be recycled. Containers of used oil filters must be marked with the words "Used Oil."