The British Columbia Used Oil Management Association (BCUOMA) is a not-for-profit organization open to all brand-owners of lubricating oil, oil filters, oil containers, antifreeze and antifreeze containers in British Columbia. Headquartered in Chilliwack, BCUOMA aims to facilitate and increase the collection, management and recycling of used oil and used antifreeze materials in British Columbia. The used oil and antifreeze materials recycling program offers British Columbians an environmentally friendly and cost-effective solution to dispose of used oil, used antifreeze, oil filters, as well as plastic oil and antifreeze containers. A multi-stakeholder Board of Directors manages BCUOMA, with representatives from manufacturing, retail, local government and the public at large.
As of July 2011, the BC Used Oil Management Association now oversees the management of antifreeze recycling across British Columbia. Today, the antifreeze recycling program is similar in structure, communication and execution as the used oil recycling program. It is expected that approximately 10 million litres of automotive antifreeze is sold in British Columbia every year. About 45% of the antifreeze sold will be available for collection and recycling. The other 55% is lost in use through broken hoses, evaporation, leakage, and overheated radiators. It is expected that about 3 million litres of used antifreeze will be collected and recycled in the first full year of the program’s operation.
The program is funded by Environmental Handling Charges (EHC). EHCs are assessed on new oil ($.05/litre), oil containers ($.10/litre of container) and oil filters less than 8 inches long ($.55), 8 inches or longer ($1.25) at the first point of sale or distribution in BC. As of July 1, 2011, EHCs are assessed on new antifreeze ($0.20/litre) and antifreeze containers ($0.10/litre of containers). The EHC is not a government tax, but a user-paid levy used solely to fund the collection of used oil, oil filters, oil and antifreeze containers (up to 30-litre capacity), and used antifreeze at approximately 530 collection facilities and over 4,000 generators across the province.
In most cases the first seller is passing the EHC cost down to the retailer and consumer. For example, the EHC cost for an oil change on a standard car should be no more than $1.25 to $1.50. Should charges appear higher than the EHC outlined above, we encourage you to ask your service centre for clarification.
Since the program launched in 2003, recovery rates for used oil and oil-related products have seen promising improvements. However, there is still just over a million litres of oil that is improperly disposed of each year in used oil filters and oil containers that are tossed in landfills instead of being brought to a return collection facility. As a result, increased public awareness on recycling these oil materials through the BCUOMA program is critical to both the success of the program and the protection of health and the environment.
Used oil collected through the program (48 million litres in 2011) is re-refined into new lubricating oil and processed for use in pulp mills, cement plants and in asphalt plants. Oil filters are crushed and taken to a steel mill to manufacture reinforcing steel, while plastic oil and antifreeze containers are recycled into new oil containers, drainage tiles and parking curbs. As of July 1, 2011, used antifreeze can now be recycled into new antifreeze.
Annually, BCUOMA undertakes a province-wide communications campaign to encourage the proper recycling of used oil and antifreeze materials. Click here to learn more about the Summer Ambassador Program.