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COOU: second life for waste oils, green & cheap


Used lubricating oil: a real danger, "changing the lubricant charge of a car can pollute an area equal to that of 6 Olympic swimming pools", but the COOU (Compulsory consortium of waste oils) takes care of collecting it, selecting it and treating it throughout the national territory. With excellent results reported by Elena Susini.

1) What does the Consortium do?

The Compulsory Consortium of Used Oils (COOU) has been operating since 1984 in the collection and recycling by regeneration of used lubricating oil, a dangerous waste. The COOU, with which all the companies that place lubricants on the market are consortiumed, coordinates the activity of about 70 companies that collect used mineral oil and 5 regeneration plants that operate throughout the country.

Parallel to the activity of collection and recyclingor, the COOU carries out an intense communication activity aimed at informing and sensitizing public opinion on the issues of proper management of this dangerous waste.

2) Why is used oil a dangerous waste?

The used oils they are the dangerous waste generated at the end of the life cycle of lubricants; if eliminated incorrectly or improperly, they can pose a danger to health and the environment. In fact, in contact with the skin, they can cause very serious diseases and, if dispersed in the sea or in lakes, they form a thin film that prevents oxygenation of the aquatic ecosystem with suffering from asphyxiation of fish and vegetation. To make the idea: 4 kg of oil, the change of the lubricant charge of a car, can pollute an area equal to that of 6 Olympic swimming pools.

3) How is it recovered from you and in what quantity?

The Consortium operates throughout the territory through specialized companies that carry out the service of collection of used oil without charges for holders. About 180 thousand tons of used oil collected last year, 95% of the potential to be collected and of these about 90% sent for regeneration which is the method recommended in priority by the current legislation for the elimination of this waste. . 5% of the waste not intercepted by the collection comes largely from do-it-yourself, that is, from those who change the oil themselves. A practice that we discourage due to the risks it entails.

4) What economic implications does the recovery of lubricating oil have?

In addition to the environmental benefits due to the elimination of hazardous waste, used lubricating oil is an economic resource for our country. In fact, since it is transformed into new quality lubricant through sophisticated regeneration processes, it allows Italy to import less oil. In fact, few people know that 25% of the Italian lubricants market is supplied by products formulated with regenerated bases. Furthermore, the used mineral oil supply chain has a positive impact on the socio-economic fabric of our country with its nearly one hundred companies and three thousand employees.

5) How large is your collection network?

There used oil supply chain is a structure that covers the whole national territory, today we coordinate the activities of about 70 companies that collect used mineral oil and 5 regeneration plants that operate throughout the national territory.

6) How does it work?

The operating mechanism for those who must dispose of used lubricants is simple: call the toll-free number of the Consortium 800 863 048 or consult our website www.coou.it for general information or the contact details of the nearest collection center.

7) What is the difference between used lubricating oil and vegetable oil?

Unlike vegetable oil, lubricating oil undergoes severe alterations during service, due to the thermal and mechanical stress to which it is subjected; it also contains chemical additives that are essential to carry out its task. All this makes used mineral oil a dangerous waste to be handled appropriately with rather sophisticated processes. Vegetable oil is not a dangerous waste and is therefore eliminated with less complex treatments to be then destined for the production of biodiesel.



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