Sea Scouts devise way to turn hazardous waste into cash for marinas

At a local marina, used oil filters are collected (right drum) and then drained for at least 12 hours (left drum). Sea Scouts determined that crushing the filters would result in a recyclable scrap metal product.

To help clean up our waterfront, a group of 20 high school youth and adult leaders, members of Sea Scout Ship 41, are working with local marinas to improve their used oil recycling stations. The scouts are participating in the Waterfront Challenge, an international initiative sponsored by Interlux, a worldwide manufacturer of yacht paints, aimed at encouraging people to “make a difference” by improving the quality of their local waterfronts.

The scouts have found that marinas tend to locate their used oil recycling stations behind their maintenance sheds – out of sight, out of mind – but one improperly-disposed-of used oil filter could contaminate 62,000 gallons of drinking water. The EPA requires that a used oil filter be “hot” drained at engine operating temperature for a minimum of 12 hours before being disposed of as regular trash.

Even so, the filter at this point still contains 50-60% of its oil and would be rejected by most landfills. It would then have to be removed from the marina by an approved EPA transporter at an increased cost. If the filter was crushed to 50-70% of its volume, a greater percentage of its oil would be drained and the filter would now be considered scrap steel. The crushed oil filter now is a potential income producer rather than being an environmental hazard.

The Sea Scouts, by designing and testing a hand operated mechanical crusher for used oil filters, would now have provided an income source such that the marinas would be more likely to have their boaters recycle in a responsive manner.

Sea Scouting is a co-educational program of the Boy Scouts of America offered to young adults between the ages of 14- 21. Sea Scouting is organized to promote better citizenship and to improve members’ boating skill and knowledge through instruction and practice in water safety, boating skills, outdoor, social, and service experiences and knowledge of our maritime heritage.

Richard Gash

Richard Gash is skipper of Sea Scout Ship 41

Read More on Nature & Environment
Volume 3, Issue 13, Posted 6:33 PM, 06.28.2011