A Win-Win for Small County Farms and the Environment

Just one gallon of used motor oil can contaminate up to one million gallons of water. Now there is no reason to run that risk. Small farms in the unincorporated areas can stop oil from washing down storm drains into the ocean and protect their own farmland by taking advantage of a free recycling program for used motor oil and oil filters. The County’s Department of Public Works is currently collecting these items through November 4.

“Last year, the program collected 4,683 gallons of used motor oil and 716 used motor oil filters from farmers ranging from Fallbrook to Boulevard,” said County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Horn. “As a rancher-farmer myself, I know how these items can pile up if you don’t get rid of them. You don’t want barrels of used oil leaking onto your property and hurting the environment.”   

Interestingly enough, a used oil filter can retain up to 11 ounces of oil even after draining for 24 hours. Two gallons of recycled oil can generate enough electricity to run the average household for almost 24 hours. Used oil is easily recycled and can be used again and again for a number of applications. The steel in used filters is often recycled into rebar for construction projects.

The collection process for the County’s program is easy. Farmers and small agricultural interests can call 1-800-449-7587 to schedule their free pickup or email No one needs to be home when the materials are collected, and seniors and disabled residents can ask for in-home assistance in gathering and packing up the recyclables for collection.

The program is funded by a grant from the California Department of Resources, Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle). The County can also help with questions about other recyclables. Call the County’s Recycling Hotline at 1-877-R-1-EARTH (1-887-713-2784) or visit