Waste Management

Heavy transport industry urged to drive used oil recycling

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The South African trucking industry is estimated to generate in excess of seven million litres of used oil every year. This is a vast amount of harmful contaminant that could potentially make its way into our environment.

A long-distance truck can hold anywhere between 10 to 20 litres of engine oil and, according to Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC)’s statistics, there are currently more than 370 000 registered heavy duty trucks on our roads. That is a conservative estimate of approximately four – up to nearly eight – million litres of used oil being generated every year by the road freight industry alone. A significant volume considering that just one litre of used oil can contaminate 1 million litres of water.

The ROSE Foundation (Recycling Oil Saves The Environment) says that with the industry being a significant source of used oil, it is imperative that operators within the sector remain aware of the harmful effects of this contaminant and ensure that it is properly stored and collected for recycling.

“Many people don’t know that used lubricant oil is dangerous as it contains harmful toxins and cancer-causing agents. Dumped, it seeps into rivers and lakes, contaminating our water,” says Bubele Nyiba, CEO of the ROSE Foundation which has been championing the responsible collection and removal of used oil for proper recycling since 1994.

“The heavy transport industry is fairly compliant, especially the large businesses. The smaller independent operators still need more education and support to ensure that they comply with the Waste Act.”

20kg used lubrication oil per day must be registered on SAWIS

“In short if you generate in excess of 20kg of used oil per day, you are required to register on the South African Waste Information System (SAWIS).”

Once registered, the generators need to submit their figures every 90 days (quarterly) into the SAWIS. The information needs to be based on actual volumes and not estimates. The following information needs to be submitted and retained by the waste generator for five years, to be produced for inspection required:

(a) the month and year to which the information applies;

(b) Category of waste; HW07 Waste Oils 01 Waste oil

(c) Source from which waste comes

(d) The quantity of waste reported in tons.

Hazardous waste generators are required to have a Waste Manifest with every load

As used oil is a hazardous waste, generators are required to maintain the below information on a Hazardous Waste Manifest, a document that will track the used oil from cradle to grave and offer a clear snapshot on how it has been managed.

  • A unique consignment identification number in the form of a bar code;
  • The generator’s contact details, including the contact person, physical and postal address, phone and fax number and email address;
  • The physical address of the site where the waste was generated;
  • An emergency contact number;
  • The origin/source of the waste (how it was generated);
  • A description of the waste (waste classification and waste category)
  • The physical nature/consistency of the waste (liquid, solid, sludge; pump-able, non-pump-able);
  • The quantity of waste;
  • Packaging (bulk, small containers, tank);
  • Transport type (tanker, truck, container);
  • Special handling instructions;
  • The date of collection/dispatch;
  • The intended receiver (waste manager).
  • “As mentioned above, the safe disposal certificate issued by ROSE registered collectors act as a Hazardous Waste Manifest, thereby fulfilling the requirements of reporting by law.”

According to Nyiba, most transport and trucking enterprises are compliant when it comes to the proper collection and storage of used oil, but because of the fact that only one litre of oil can contaminate one million litres of water, it is essential that each and every transport enterprise ensures that they are doing all they can to protect the environment from this harmful waste. “Our water resources are scarce. We cannot allow South Africa’s surface and underground water resources to be contaminated.”

Catherine Pate

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