Plastic Oil Bottle Recycling

EPA Contract Number: EPD06036
Title: Plastic Oil Bottle Recycling
Investigators: Markiewicz, John
Small Business: CRI Recycling Services, Inc.
EPA Contact: Richards, April
Phase: I
Project Period: March 1, 2006 through August 31, 2006
Project Amount: $66,973
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2006) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: SBIR - Waste , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development


Various oily wastes are generated when performing vehicle maintenance operations, including used oil drained from the engine, the oil filter, and even oil absorbent used to clean up oil that has spilled on the floor.  At one time these wastes were placed in landfills.  Concerns with oil from these wastes migrating into surface and groundwater has prompted a number of state and federal regulatory agencies to restrict these materials from landfills.

Unfortunately, one component from this process has been overlooked—the “empty” plastic oil bottle.  It has been shown that an “empty” 1-quart plastic bottle contains 1 to 2 ounces of oil.  It has been estimated that 2 billion bottles are disposed of annually, the majority in sanitary landfills.  An estimated 260 million pounds of recyclable plastic and an estimated 16 million gallons of recyclable oil are thrown away each year.

CRI Recycling Services, Inc., has developed and commercialized a recycling technology that offers generators an environmentally acceptable alternative to deal with their solid oily wastes.  Absorbents have been the major focus of this recycling effort.  This patented technology uses liquefied gases as solvents to extract the oil for the absorbent materials allowing both the oil and absorbent to be recycled.  The recovered oil is recycled internally as fuel oil and is sold for fuel or lube oil feedstock.  Cleaned absorbents are returned to the generator for reuse.

CRI proposes to extend the use of this technology to the problem of “empty” plastic oil bottles.  Similar to the absorbents, oil would be extracted from the plastic using a liquefied gas solvent allowing both the oil and cleaned plastic to be recycled.  Target generators range from the “do-it-yourselfers” that periodically need to dispose of a handful of bottles to “quick change” oil facilities, auto mechanics, and auto parts stores that may need to dispose of a much larger quantity.  Community involvement would be encouraged by setting up central collection stations where generators could deposit their “empty” bottles.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, oily wastes, recycling, landfills, plastic bottles, surface water, groundwater, liquefied gases, liquefied gas solvent, EPA,, Scientific Discipline, INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, Waste, POLLUTION PREVENTION, Municipal, waste reduction, Environmental Chemistry, recycling, Environmental Engineering, municipal waste plastics, waste minimization, materials handling, plastic containers, municipal waste, recovered materials, municipal solid waste landfills, oil waste, solid waste, waste management, plastics, urban waste

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report