January 12, 2007

Ontario government to ban burning of used oil

Toronto, Ontario – The Ontario provincial government is seeking public input on a draft regulation that would ban the burning of used oil in space heaters, Environment Minister Laurel Broten announced at Safety-Kleen Canada, Ontario’s only re-refinery and the second largest re-refinery in North America.

“Our government is committed to taking real action to protect and improve the quality of our air, water and land and that’s why we’re moving to ban the burning of used oil in space heaters,” said Minister Broten. “Used oil is not meant to be burned at low temperatures in space heaters, so we’re taking action to protect Ontarians and our environment.”

About 700 facilities throughout Ontario, such as auto repair centres and dealerships, burn the equivalent of 2.5 million oil changes for heat. Those in southern Ontario that now have approval to burn used oil will have until June 1, 2009 to divert their used oil rather than discharging it into the environment. No new approvals will be issued.

The ban will add about seven million litres of used oil to the 150 million litres that is currently re-refined at Safety-Kleen. The company’s re-refinery reduces greenhouse gas emissions by almost 500,000 tonnes annually, the equivalent of taking 100,000 vehicles off the road each year. Re-refining the used oil will decrease the demand for non-renewable petroleum resources.

“Banning the burning of used oil supports re-refining, reduces demand for new oil and encourages economic development in the environmental sector,” said Minister Broten. “It’s clearly the right move for the environment.”

The practice will be allowed to continue in northern Ontario since the north has limited options for disposing of waste oil. Northern Ontario is defined in the draft regulation as lying north and west of the Mattawa River, Lake Nipissing and the French River, or in the Territorial District of Manitoulin.

A draft regulation to ban the practice of burning used oil in space heaters has been posted to the Environmental Registry for a 30-day public comment period. It can be found here.

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