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Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Solid Waste Management on Tribal Lands

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Recycling Centers

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Buy-back recycling centers can help increase recycling rates, and bring in additional revenue to your community. Buy-back centers purchase recyclables, such as aluminum cans, glass, and other materials. They are commonly located at sites such as store parking lots for convenience.

Some states, including California, have bottle bills that require a minimum refundable deposit to be paid on cans and bottles. Several tribes in California, including Robinson Rancheria and the Hopland Tribe, have partnered with the State of California and host California Refund Value (CRV) buy-back centers, open to both tribal members and nonmembers.

Used oil collection opportunities and regulations differ by state and local area. In general, there are three options for tribes dealing with used oil.

Used Oil Collection Centers

Buckets filled with oil
Avoid improper disposal of used oil by offering used oil collection to your tribal community.

Used motor oil is insoluble, persistent, and can contain toxic chemicals and heavy metals. When disposed of improperly, used oil can contaminate soil and water. Fortunately, used motor oil can be recycled and either re-refined into new oil, processed into fuel oils, or used as raw materials for the petroleum industry.

  • Promote the local used oil collection center. Research the nearest local used oil collection location. Locations that typically collect used oil include gas stations, auto repair and oil change shops, auto dealerships, transfer stations, and recycling centers. Publicize the location of the nearest used oil collection center to tribal members and encourage them to properly dispose of their used oil.
  • Work with local waste haulers or household hazardous waste collection programs. The local waste hauling company may be willing to pick up used oil as part of their collection service. Local household hazardous waste collection programs may also be willing to accept used oil on a periodic basis.
  • Start a tribal used oil collection center. Allow tribal and/or community members to bring their used oil to a drop-off location run by the tribe.

State Resources


Arizona – Used Oil Program Exiting EPA (disclaimer) Facilities that accept only the smaller quantities of used oil are generally referred to as collection facilities, and may be subdivided into the following three classifications:
  • Household do-it-yourselfer (DIYer) collection center
  • Used oil collection center (registration required)
  • Used oil aggregation point.

A DIY collection center is a facility that can only accept used oil from DIYers. DIY collection centers are not required to register with ADEQ. Operators of this type of facility usually impose some restrictions, such as a 5-gallon limit, on DIYers who use their facility. Although the DIYers who bring used oil to a DIY used oil collection center are unregulated generators of used oil, the DIY collection center itself is a regulated used oil generator. Since DIY collection centers are not required to register with ADEQ, ADEQ does not maintain a list of these facilities. Typical examples of DIY collection centers include automotive retail stores and service stations that accept used oil from DIYers, but not from businesses.

A used oil collection center is a facility that accepts used oil from regulated used oil generators such as businesses, school and municipal maintenance facilities. Although by law this type of facility can only accept a maximum of 55 gallons of used oil per load, many such facilities impose an even smaller per-load limit. This type of facility may also accept used oil from DIYers. Used oil collection centers are classified as a regulated used oil generators and must register with ADEQ.

A used oil aggregation point is a facility that accepts used oil from satellite, field, or regional facilities, which it also owns, operates, or controls. Used oil aggregation points are not required to register with ADEQ. This type of facility is classified as a regulated used oil generator.


California Tribal Example

Quartz Valley Tribe Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

The Quartz Valley Tribe is certified through the State of California as a used oil collection center. Quartz Valley tribal members and residents can bring their used oil to the Tribal Administration Office during business hours.

California – Used Oil Recycling Program Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

In 1991 the California State Legislature passed the Oil Recycling Enhancement Act to address the significant threat to California's environment from illegally dumped used oil. As a result of the act, the California Integrated Waste Management Board has certified over 2,700 used oil collection centers that will take used oil from the public and even pay a 40-cent-per-gallon recycling incentive. The Board also offers grants to local governments for used oil collection and education programs.

Nevada Tribal Example

Reno Sparks Indian Colony

The Tribe conducted a pilot project to determine if a motor oil recycling program could be implemented as an alternative to open dumping.  The Tribe established an area for motor oil recycling and a Standard Operating Procedure for collection and management of these wastes.  In addition, the Tribe purchased several collection drums and set up secondary containment in case of a spill. 


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