Used Oil vs Waste Oil
Used Oil vs Waste Oil - What's the difference?
When it comes to used oil vs waste oil, the short answer is a lot! At operations using vehicles, you're bound to have a garage. In the garage, on the yard, anywhere those trucks are used, you're bound to find new oil for the trucks. Where does the old, used oil go? It's normally held onsite, either to be burned in a heating unit, trucked offsite, or some held for other use. These tanks more often than not are labelled waste oil - or worse yet, not labelled at all, and described as the waste oil tank.
Almost every time I find out it's not a tank for waste oil, but a tank holding used oil. So, used oil vs waste oil? Is this a question of wording, or is there really a difference?
First off, whether used oil or waste oil, it's regulated by the Federal USEPA and State governments under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
Now here's the difference.
Used oil is oil that has been used, and as a result of such use, is now contaminated by physical or chemical impurities. The classic example is used oil drained from the engine of a truck or vehicle, and then stored for reuse or recycling.
Waste oil is oil that has not been used, but is found to be unsuitable for its originally intended purpose. For example, suppose a 55-gallon drum of oil was opened only to find that the cap on the drum had leaked, and now the oil was mixed with water, rendering it unsuitable for it's original purpose. A big difference between the two is that waste oil is a hazardous waste.
So there is a difference in used oil vs waste oil. And, there is a difference in how they are regulated too. Used oil is considered a regulated waste, while waste oil is a hazardous waste. Nearly all plants have used oil, while very few ever have waste oil. There are additional regulations, such as the level of contamination of the used oil, regards to its eventual reuse, recycling, or disposal. It's much better to have used oil vs waste oil.
Used oil tanks must, by regulation, be labelled as Used Oil - not unmarked, unlabelled, or as waste oil. Used Oil - that's it. I'm sure the guys working at the plant all know used oil's in the tank, but they need to be labeled.
There are some state-specific differences to this general overview, and in all cases, check with your applicable state waste regulatory office, or seek qualified help. And remember, when it comes to used oil vs. waste oil, there is a difference!