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April 2013 - Used Motor Oil Dumping Is Killing Our Country

Above: The look of a successful recycling initiative for empty motor oil containers by ROSE Foundation (Recycling Oil Saves the Environment) in partnership with Collect-a-Can.

South Africa generates 120 million litres of used motor oil each year, so where does the used oil and its containers go and what impact could it have on the environment if it is not recycled? Used motor oil contains harmful compounds and cancer-causing agents which if left in landfills could have a detrimental impact on the environment.

The ROSE Foundation was set up in 1994 to deal with the issue of recycling used motor oil and its containers and with Collect-a-Can’s assistance since 2003, they have drained and recycled approximately 1 150 000kg of metal and plastic containers. The figures are impressive; however it’s only the tip of the oil container mound as they rely on garages and motor workshops to voluntarily join the national programme, which is a challenge.

Of the many garages and motor workshops in South Africa, approximately 360 garages are taking part in the recycling initiative leaving an estimated 40 million litres of used motor oil unaccounted for each year. The taxi industry is also a major concern as it makes up 65% of the public transport system, and the recycling of used oil and containers is not a priority when filling up on the move.

Collect-a-Can’s Western Cape Regional Branch Manager, Rodrick Resandt, elaborates, “A challenge we’re facing is changing the mind-set of garage and motor workshop owners to become eco-conscious and consider the environmental impact such waste can have on the environment. In partnership with ROSE Foundation, we offer a simple and cost effective solution. By educating and creating awareness for the initiative, we hope to achieve a considerable increase in garage participation by 2015.”

ROSE Foundation’s Raj Lochan comments, “According to the Waste Act, the generator of waste is responsible for the safe disposal thereof, so we rely on the buy-in of garages and motor workshops. Over the years we have built strong relationships with some Municipalities who provide drop-off facilities for the public and we are grateful for their support, but driving further awareness about the used motor oil recycling industry is needed for us to make a truly significant impact on our environment.”


For further information about the initiative, visit or contact Rodrick Resandt on 021 534 7010or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For the ROSE Foundation, visit or contact Raj Lochan on 021 448 7492 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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