Oily rags are highly combustible, and many people aren’t aware of the risk of improper disposal of these waste items. They’ve got a long history of being a source of fires. Disposing of them properly is a significant step in preventing fire accidents in garages and work areas.

How Do They Cause Fires?

If you’ve got a pile of oily rags in your garage, you’re at a higher risk of losing your property, including your car. After removing oil from car engines, most people leave the rags on their garage floors, where they begin to dry. Eventually, they produce heat.

If the rags are put in a pile, they trap oxygen underneath. The trapped oxygen causes spontaneous combustion that results in a massive fire that could destroy your property.

Recyclable rags are cheap and affordable means of cleaning up the engine oil and service fluids from cars and garage floors. Of course, it’s quite economical to use rags to clean up minor motor oil spillages.

Unlike tissues, recyclable rags soak minor engine oil effortlessly. Besides, you can often reuse the rags severally before you eventually dump them.

Despite these benefits, oily rags can be toxic masters, and they’re often classified under hazardous materials.  According to the European Union, all waste oils (except edible oils) are extremely hazardous, as provided in the Waste Framework Directive’s “List of Waste” document.

Proper Disposal of Oily Rags

The European Union regulations require people to be compliant with proper oily waste disposal directives. Like waste oils, oily rags must be stored properly before being discarded by an accredited toxic waste disposal contractor.

If your business chooses to transport its own oily rags to the disposal bin, it must be a registered waste carrier. If it isn’t registered, the waste disposal task must be done by a certified contractor.

The following are some tips for the proper storage and disposal of oily rags.

  1. Don’t pile your rags. Spread your oily rags in a safe flat place to dry. If you spread them on your driveway or garage floor, weight them down to prevent the wind from blowing them away. When they dry, seek advice from your municipality to determine the best way to dispose of them.

2.  Keep them in an airtight, non-combustible metal container. This is a critical step if you’re planning to reuse your rag. Fill the metal container with water and oil breakdown detergent solution.

3.  Adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions. Manufacturers use different oils, and they offer the best advice about the safest way to dispose of oily products. Follow their recommendations.

4.  Contact a junk removal service. Junk removal services offer comprehensive oily rag collection services to residents and dispose of the waste on their behalf. When hiring such a service, ensure that the company you choose complies with EPA obligations.

5. Dispose of the oily rags at a local recycling facility. Recycling facilities can extract the oil from rags and turn it into new base and fuel oils. Once the oil is extracted, the rags are sent to landfills.

Proper disposal of oily rags is a critical step towards environmental protection and preventing fires.  With these steps, you shouldn’t face any challenge getting rid of your oily rag waste, and if they work for you, inform others to try them too!