Filter Manufacturers Council – Choosing a Filter Management Service

Choosing a Filter Management Service


Just a short time ago, most used oil filters were disposed of in landfills. Today, a few states have banned the landfill disposal of used oil filters, or placed other regulations on their management. All states require that the filters, at a minimum, be drained of all free-flowing oil before they are disposed.

The burgeoning filter management industry–transporting, processing and recycling–is growing at a rapid pace. The purpose of this brochure is to help generators of used oil filters choose a filter management firm and to make sure that their filters are handled properly. This brochure provides you with a list of basic questions to ask when choosing a company that provides a filter management service.

Proper handling and disposition benefit everyone. Where recycling is chosen as a managemnt method, the environment is better protected through the recovery of natural resources, such as used oil and scrap ferrous metal. Plus, your customers will feel good knowing that you are taking steps that are environmentally responsible.


The members of the Filter Manufacturers Council want to encourage the proper handling of used oil filters. As a generator, you are responsible for making sure that the used oil filter is managed in a responsible manner, and in accordance with all environmental requirements. Your decision to choose a filter management company is a critical one. You should ask as many questions as possible about the company and be sure that you know how your filters are being handled and by whom. After all, as a generator, you continue to be liable for the product that originates in your shop.

Filter management firms vary in size and the services they provide. To make sure you are selecting a firm that best suits your needs, the following definitions are offered to assist you. Remember that a company may provide one or more of the following type of services.

Transporter: A company that transports (not simply arranges for transport) used oil filters.

Processor: A company that itself shreds, crushes or otherwise prepares a filter for its ultimate disposal or end use.

Recycler: A company that itself produces a new product from used filters.

Questions You Should Ask

When researching a prospective filter management company, there are certain questions you should ask of each company. The following list of questions is meant to be used as a guideline only. You should tailor the questions to your individual needs and circumstances.

Does the company have general liability insurance? environmental insurance? (If “yes” to either, it does not mean that your responsibility is gone.) What specific events are covered by these policies? Do they adequately protect your business?

Will the company provide you with the names and phone numbers of business references?

Do you receive an audit trail from each point that the filters are handled? What other companies are handling your filters? Do these other companies comply with environmental regulations?

Does the company have any past or pending environmental enforcement actions? How long have they been in the filter business? What related services do they provide for other automotive wastes and how are these materials managed?

What is done to the filters? How are they processed? (e.g., crushed, shredded, dismantled)

What is the ultimate disposition of the filters? (e.g., recycled, if so, into what? disposed into landfill?)

What requirements must the generator meet to satisfy the transporter’s, processor’s, and recycler’s specification for the filters? (e.g., drained, punctured, kept in spill-proof containers)

Does the company have all appropriate licenses and permits required by the state and/or federal regulators allowing them to handle used oil filters?

Does the company provide a written contract that provides the following:

       Exact services provided by the vendor? (e.g., frequency, what is done to the filters,
               who else handles the filters?)
       Your responsibilities as a generator? (e.g., other wastes allowed in containers, type
               of containers, draining requirements?)
Filter Hotline

The filter hotline is a toll-free service available to corporate and government generators of used vehicle filters. Callers to the hotline are given a summary of their state’s filter management regulations, referrals to companies that provide filter management services to their state and a referral to the state governing agency.

Interested companies may reach the filter hotline by dialing: 1-800-993-4583 Monday through Friday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. (Eastern time). The hotline is sponsored by the Filter Manufacturers Council and is administered by the MEMA Environmental Institute.


Neither the MEMA Environmental Institute nor the Filter Manufacturers Council nor their affiliates or members can guarantee the accuracy of the information provided. The questions and checklist provided in this brochure are not meant to be an exhaustive list of decision points not do they constitute legal advice. Rather, they are meant to serve as basic guidance when choosing a service.

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