Shell lubricants has partnered with the ROSE Foundation to ensure that its products are correctly recycled or re-refined.

The global lubricant supplier says it understands the impact that the improper disposal of lubricating oils may pose to the environment which is why it has opted to get involved with the initiatives of the foundation.

According to the ROSE Foundation (Recycling Oil Saves the Environment), which is made up of members representing the major lubricating oil producers and distributors in South Africa, used lubricating oil is a hostile substance that contains many environmentally harmful components.

These components damage the environment in a number of different ways, as it tends to accumulate in soil and water as toxic gases and harmful metallic dust particles. Once the oil enters a water way, it biodegrades slowly as it hampers oxygen access to the microorganisms that would otherwise assists in breaking it down. The best method of dealing with it, according to the foundation, is to recycle it.


The process of recycling oil involves taking used engine oil and adapting it for a different purpose, the most common example entails burning it as a fuel source. The oil is recycled by making use of commercial filtration systems in order to remove insoluble impurities; however, this does not remove the soluble contaminants.

According to the experts this method of dealing with used oil unfortunately provides oil which has limited uses, and in many cases, it is mixed with additives in order to prolong its usage. It is also not recommended for use in vehicles.


The process of re-refining involves the removal of all impurities both soluble and insoluble; yielding an oil quality suitable for vehicle use. Some sources claim that re-refined oil has equal or greater qualities that many virgin base oils, and additionally, the re-refining process is less severe and makes use of less energy than the refining of crude, with motor oils providing the ability to be re-refined many times.

“Although it is always recommended to make use of new lubricating oils in engines in order to prolong the lifespan of the engine’s internals, there are a number of uses for recycled and re-refined oil,” the organisation notes.

A sustainability champion

Commenting on the partnership Peter Yang, Head of Lubricant Supply Chain Shell South Africa, and current ROSE Foundation board director says as a founding member of the organisation, its vision is to be even more involved in the recycling processes, and to become an even stronger sustainably champion in South Africa.

“We as Shell Lubricants ensure that our clients remain educated on the safe and proper manner in which to dispose of used lubricant oils, and partnering with our clients in the right direction means highlighting our partnership with ROSE Foundation,” Yang concludes.

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