Whilst just over half of the lubricating oil sold in South Africa is consumed through use, the remaining 40% to 45% is highly threatening to the environment and human health if incorrectly disposed20. The breakdown of additives and base oil releases and mixes a variety of chemicals in the used oil, the most harmful of which are poly-aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) which potentially have carcinogenic effects. Used oil poses an especially serious threat to drinking water supplies and aquatic life, with one litre of used oil able to pollute one million litres of water.

The Recycling Oil Saves the Environment (ROSE) Foundation, a section 21 company, manages the collection, storage and recycling of used lubricating oil. ROSE is funded through levies of 5c per litre of oil sold from manufacturers and marketers of lubricants, and the sale of the oil it has recycled. ROSE uses the levy to pay collectors 10c per litre of used lubricating oil collected. ROSE is currently acquiring PBO status. ROSE established the National Oil Recycling Association of South Africa (NORA-SA) in 2005, which has 90 members.

NORA-SA’s members have endeavored to provide receptacles for used oil, educational campaigns and training for all ROSE collectors. It is vital that all users of lubricating oil, including garages and the motor vehicle maintenance industry, are obliged to dispose of used oil according to certain standards, aligned with the ROSE initiative for the collection and recycling of oil. Such standards will be developed in terms of Section 7(1)(c) of the Waste Act, as part of the process to determine standards for the storage, treatment and disposal of different categories of waste.


 20PURNELL, Geoff. 2009. National Waste Quantification and Waste Information System.[Online]. Available:  http://www.wastepolicy.co.za/nwms/library/index.htm [17 February 2010]