Waste oil disposal probably isn’t the most exciting part of running a bike shop. But the messy, dirty, smelly stuff has to be got rid of somehow, and the law takes a very dim view of people dumping it or even burning it in heaters these days. Green regulations are becoming ever more important, and recycling dangerous waste like used engine oil is something every firm must do properly.
There’s been a bit of an ad-hoc approach across the country until recently. Several firms pick up oil, but they’re naturally geared up for car and commercial vehicle operations, where the quantities are much higher. Getting a large-scale car operator to come and collect a small bike shop’s 200-litre drum every month or so isn’t always easy.
Now a new operator is targeting the bike industry with an initial 12-month free pickup deal, nationwide coverage, and a large fleet of new tankers with full-time permanent staff. The firm is called Waste Lubricating Oils, and the firm’s director, Chris Williamson, told us about the operation. “We’ve got 18 trucks at the moment across the country,” he said. “We started with one truck and one employee two years ago, and we’re at 35 employees now, with another ten trucks in build. So by March next year, we’ll have 28, which will be the biggest fleet in the country.”
According to Williamson, Waste Lubricating Oils has a unique recycling arrangement, which gives lower costs. “Most of the competition exports their oil: it goes to places like Denmark, Germany, France and Greece. But we recycle all of our oil here in England. We’re the only company who can give that guarantee.”
The base oil is cleaned, treated, refined, and re-used as an industrial lubricating oil. “The base oil never wears out; it just gets dirty, and the additives wear out,” said Williamson.
When it comes down to practicalities, the Waste Lubricating Oils recycling arrangement couldn’t be more straightforward. “Where we differ is that our competitors will stipulate minimum collection quantities. Bike shops tend to store maybe 200-litres at a time, and some firms put a minimum band of 400-litres. We’re offering a free collection for bike dealers for 12 months. Normally, we charge a token amount, maybe £50-£80 per pickup, including VAT. We’re going to run that for a year and see how it goes. Currently, many companies charge a lot more, around £200 a lift. You can keep your oil in a 50-gallon drum for pickup, and grades can be mixed as long as it’s engine or gearbox oil, no brake fluid or anything else.”
For more information or to book a pickup, check out the firm’s website at: www.wastelubricatingoils.co.uk or call 01226 954601.