Ecuador Aims to Recycle More Used Lubes


The government of Ecuador aims for the country to recycle 100 percent of its used lubricants and has vowed to guarantee new investments to permit installation of processing plants under a Ministry of the Environment agreement signed earlier this month.

Minister of Environment Marceo Mata signed ministerial agreement 042 – titled Instructions for the Application of Extended Responsibility in the Integrated Management of Used Lubricating Oils and Empty Containers – on May 16 at a press conference in Guayaquil, according to the ministry news release. According to the release, Ecuador uses 31 million gallons of lubricants per year – about 105,000 metric tons. Mata stated the regulation will regulate small refineries that produce oil and recycling plants, and that its initiatives will attract the international investments the country needs to reach its goals for recycling of used lubricants.

Get alerts when new Sustainability Blog articles are available.


“This agreement will establish requirements and technical guidelines for the environmentally sound management of used lubricating oil and empty containers within the framework of extended producer responsibility,” the ministry stated in its May 16 news release.

Karina Barrera, ministerial advisor, noted in the release that the regulation will establish necessary controls. Currently 63 percent of used lubricating oils are discarded in the environment without any type of treatment and control.

Mata said in the release that the country expects the regulation to result in significant savings in capital outflow per gallon produced in Ecuador because each gallon of imported lubricant costs Ecuador about $7.50, while a locally produced lubricant goes for about $3.50 per gallon. The country uses the United States dollar as its currency.

According to the ministry’s release, organizations and companies that helped put together the regulation included the Corporation of Promotion of Exports and Investments; the Ministry of Productivity, Foreign Trade and Fishing; the Association of Ecuadorian Lubricant Producers; the providers of services for management of hazardous waste; and companies that import lubricating oils into the South American country.

Through the regulation, the Ministry of the Environment can bring order to the lubricants sector and turn it into a productive sector, CORPEI President Eduardo Egas said in the news release.

Ecuador had a 3 percent share – around 87,000 metric tons – of 2.9 million tons of total lubricant demand in Latin and South America in 2017, H. Ernest Henderson, president of K&E Petroleum Consulting, said at ACI’s U.S. Base Oils and Lubricants Summit in Des Moines, Iowa in August 2018. Country estimates were based on data collected from Fuchs, IHS and Kline & Co.