CalRecycle’s public education campaign helps motorists save money by learning recommended oil change interval at Santa Monica Pier April 14

CalRecycle, the state’s leading authority on recycling, waste reduction and product reuse, will host a public education “Check Your Number” campaign event at the Santa Monica Pier near Los Angeles this Saturday, April 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Free parking will be available to drivers who agree to check their manufacturer’s recommended oil change interval and display that number on a windshield poster, creating a sea of “Check Your Number” supporters helping to educate their fellow Californians.

Additionally, the CalRecycle team will be available to look up the recommended oil change intervals for any Santa Monica Pier visitors that day.

Most modern cars have manufacturer recommendations of 5,000 miles, 7,500 miles or even more between oil changes, and don’t need to rely on the outdated 3,000-mile standard. Through this event, CalRecycle will demonstrate to Californians that different vehicles have different oil change needs and that re-evaluating their current oil change habits can help them save money while reducing their impact on the environment. “Check Your Number” parking is available to the first 140 participating drivers.

The education campaign at the Santa Monica Pier will be at the 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica

West Parking Lot, behind the Carousel. The event will see a convergence of 100+ vehicles displaying their various oil change numbers, dramatically illustrating the range of intervals between different models, while CalRecycle representatives and possibly elected officials helping visitors “check” their number on-site.

What is CalRecycle?

California’s Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) is the state’s leading authority and central hub for recycling and waste management programs. From landmark initiatives (Integrated Waste Management and Beverage Container Recycling acts) to grassroots outreach (Check Your Number Campaign), CalRecycle provides insights, education and resources that lead Californians to use less, recycle more and take resource conservation to higher and higher levels.

What is the “Check Your Number” Campaign?

“Check Your Number” is a creative new public education campaign with two primary goals.

First, it encourages Californians to look up the recommended oil change interval for their vehicle instead of defaulting to the old standard of 3,000 miles. With today’s new technologies, many car makers confirm automobiles can now maintain top performance and engine life while going longer between oil changes. Thus, it makes economic and environmental sense to “check your number” and be sure you are not changing your oil too soon, unnecessarily wasting money and resources. The second goal is to inform residents on the proper way to collect and recycle used motor oil and filters. There are many free, local resources available throughout the state to help drivers do their part to keep harmful toxins out of the groundwater.

This statewide initiative includes strategic partnerships, special events in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Kern County, advertising, public relations and a new website ( – all designed to make it easy for residents to “check their number” and be better informed about the responsible time and way to handle their next oil change.

Why is This Important? Does One Car’s Used Motor Oil Really Cause so Much Damage Anyway?

Following are some jaw-dropping facts that underscore the importance of recycling used motor oil.

Nearly 40% of the pollution in America’s waterways is from used motor oil

It only takes one gallon of used motor oil to pollute one million gallons of water. Oil is insoluble and if it is not recycled properly can find its way into oceans, lakes and other bodies of water, harming fish and other aquatic wildlife

Improper disposal of used motor oil is illegal and can result in fines of up to $10,000

Used motor oil can be reprocessed into fuel that can be used in furnaces for heat or in power plants to generate electricity for homes, schools and businesses

Why is More Education Still Needed? What are the Common Mistakes?

Though it is relatively easy to “check your number” and recycle used motor oil thanks to the many free online and community resources supported by CalRecycle, it is also, unfortunately, easy to unknowingly change your oil too frequently and/or mistakenly contaminate used motor oil.

Changing Motor Oil Every 3,000 Miles Unnecessarily – A recent survey by CalRecycle indicates that almost 10 million Californians change their motor oil every 3,000 miles or less, using more than 150 million gallons of motor oil each year – enough oil to fill 255 Olympic size swimming pools. The truth is the 3,000 miles baseline does not apply to many cars on the road today and in fact, automakers now recommend oil changes at 5,000, 7,000 or even 10,000 miles for newer models. Many drivers are mistakenly defaulting to this interval based on an outdated standard, so education is needed to build awareness that new guidelines now exist as a result of improved automotive technology.

Are CalRecycle Programs Working?

CalRecycle is inspiring Californians to achieve the highest waste reduction, recycling and reuse goals in the nation. The Golden State leads the country by diverting approximately 65 percent of its waste from landfills. Today, recycling in California supports at least 140,000 jobs, according to data from the Employment Development Department. In 2010, California recycled some 30 million waste tires, 16.5 billion California Redemption Value beverage containers, 186 million pounds of electronic waste, and more than 100 million gallons of used motor oil. There are now more than 3,000 Certified Collection Centers for used oil in California, many of them conveniently located at auto parts stores and quick lube shops.