Auto Care

Mr. Funnelhead makes an appearance at an auto parts store to promote Use Oil Recycling

Don’t dump. Recycle used motor oil.

In the last few years, thousands of gallons of used motor oil have been dumped into storm drains by Contra Costa County residents. By taking used motor oil, antifreeze, filters, and other automobile fluids, in a sealed container, to a gas station or oil changing site with a recycling program, you will be helping our ocean, creeks, and the Bay. 

In the event of an accidental spill, sprinkle the area with sawdust or kitty litter to absorb all liquids, sweep it into a plastic garbage bag, and take it to a household hazardous waste facility.


  • Just one gallon of used motor oil can contaminate up to one million gallons of our fresh water. That’s enough water to supply 50 people for one year.
  • Recycled motor oil requires about half as much energy to produce.
  • Recycling two gallons of used oil can generate enough electricity to run an average household for almost 24 hours.
  • The used oil from one car engine can produce an 8-acre oil slick.
  • Used motor oil can be re-refined into lubricating oils that meet the same API certification and specifications as new motor oil.
  • It takes 42 gallons of crude oil, but only one gallon of used oil, to produce 2 ½ quarts of new, high-quality lubricating oil.


  • Pour used oil down any drain
  • Toss used oil on your driveway, street, or the ground
  • Dispose of oil in creeks, rivers, the Delta or the Bay
  • Spread oil to suppress dust or kill weeds
  • Burn oil outdoors
  • Mix used oil with other substances


To find a certified used oil collection site, go to

Residents can safely discard a wide variety of household hazardous wastes to their local Household Hazardous Waste Facility at no charge. To find Household Hazardous Waste Facilities near you, go to


Washing Your Car

Washing your car at home can allow pollutants such as grease, dirt, oil, metals, and chemicals from soap and cleansers to flow directly into the storm drain untreated. Even if you use biodegradable soaps, the oxygen these products require to break down depletes our creek of the oxygen fish and other organisms need to survive. Instead, take your car to a commercial car wash where the wastewater will be treated.