The oil and antifreeze recycling facility.

Photo Credit: Alexandra Mehl | Ha-Shilth-Sa

The Fix for Anti-Freeze

Do you have old motor oil just hanging around

Zeballos has a funky new recycling centre to keep toxins off the land and out of hungry mouths

Winter is here, and animals are out looking for food. But some things aren’t the candy they seem.

Anti-freeze is one of those deadly candies for wildlife, and oil is just as toxic. Luckily, now there’s a new safe way to dispose of both in Zeballos.

The Ehattesaht/Chinehkint First Nation has been working with BC Used Oil Management Association (BCUOMA) to open a centre so the remote community can recycle their used motor oil, oil filters, oil and antifreeze containers, and antifreeze. 

“We worked with the team at BC Used Oil Management Association to develop a facility that our community members could drop off used oil program materials easily and at no cost. This has been an important initiative for us,” said Ryan Foster, Ehattesaht Operations and Maintenance manager, in a press release.

In remote places like Zeballos, residents generally need to travel to Port Hardy or Campbell River to recycle their oil and antifreeze. That sometimes makes it unlikely folks will actually make the trip.

“Having this facility in the valley is a very environmentally responsible way of collecting that stuff here,” said Foster. “We [are] removing it from potentially escaping to the environment. And as well, we get to clean up our current facilities [and] make them safer.”

The centre hopes to keep the toxic substances off the land and out of any pets or wildlife’s mouths.

“It’s a really unique area, [and] a real sensitive area. So having really good oil collection, motor oil collection, antifreeze filters [and] containers, is super important,” said David Lawes, CEO of BC Used Oil Management Association, in a press release.

The facility is located at 601 Mainline Road in Zeballos, BC. It’s got a pretty funky venue, running out of a mobile 10-foot modified sea container and a 1,100-litre intermediate tank.

Both Foster and his helper were trained by BCUOMA to identify the types of oils that can be recycled. The facility is now open by appointment.

They’re welcoming both community members and folks from nearby settlements, such as Fair Harbour and Kyuquot, to take the time to care for their homes and recycle at the facility.