Quimiguay Recycles Waste Oil in Argentina


Quimiguay Recycles Waste Oil in Argentina

The mismanagement of used lubricants poses risks to the health of local populations, and one way to address this is to recycle or rerefine this material – something that Buenos Aires-based waste management group Quimiguay is doing in Argentina. 

As this hazardous material can contaminate soil, air, and water quality, the group transports, treats and manages waste through the support of its own truck fleet which operates at ports, in cities and throughout more remote areas in the provinces of Entre Rios, Cordoba, Chubut and Santa Cruz. 

Although rerefined base oil has had a negative stigma to it in the past, this attitude is less present today, and use of the material – mostly in developed markets – has been on the rise over the past two decades. 

To capitalize on the market, Quimiguay has developed its used mineral oil and lubricant recovery program known as ALU by its Spanish acronym. Launched in 2020, the program is currently operating in more than 28 locations. Below is the latest on what is taking place in Argentina, based on Lube Report’s recent chat with Quimiguay Institutional Relations Manager Facundo Sassone. 

What are the sources of waste oil collected, and what is the goal of ALU? 

Facundo Sassone: Launched in 2020, the program is now operating in 17 municipalities throughout the province of Entre Rios, another 11 municipalities in Cordoba, and in two national public bodies. In collaboration with the public and private sectors, we collect, recover, and recycle used mineral oil and lubricant that is generated at public organizations.  Our initiative prevents this hazardous waste from ending up in garbage dumps, cesspits, wells, streams, rivers and other water bodies. In exchange, the entities [generating the fluid] receive native trees to help create new green spaces. 

How often does collection usually occur in the recovery process and what happens after that?

Sassone: In most cases, hazardous waste is removed every 30 days by our own fleet of tanker trucks, which are equipped with pumps to remove the used material from each generation site, dependency or public office. From there, the collected waste is transported to Quimiguay treatment plants.   Once at the treatment plant, distillation starts, meaning that the used lubricating oil is recovered and converted into lubricant bases or industrial fuel. The products are then reincorporated into the industry and the reuse of a non-renewable resource is promoted. 

At which refinery or refineries is base oil produced? 

Sassone: Base oil is produced at two facilities. One is the Entre Rios plant in the city of Enrique Carbo. The other is the Cordoba plant, which is installed in the Mi Granja Industrial Park, east of the city of Cordoba. 

How much used oil is being collected, and how much base oil is being produced? 

Sassone: Quimiguay recovers more than 7,000 [metric] tons per year of used mineral oils, coming from industries, workshops and lubrication centers. From this, lubricant bases, industrial fuels, and plasticizers are formulated for the asphalt membrane industry, among others. In Argentina, the oil used by industries, workshops and companies is considered hazardous waste by Law No. 24,051. 

In terms of used lubricating oil, we have received 34,660 liters under our public-private integration initiative, of which 27,900 came from Entre Ríos and 6,760 from Córdoba. Of this total, 80% was recovered. By this, we reincorporate usable products into the industry and the reuse of a once non-renewable resource is promoted.  

Remember that the mismanagement of used mineral oils generates great risks, affects the soil, air and water, and poses a danger to the health of the population. In the case of lubricants, a single liter of lubricant spill can contaminate a million liters of water. Therefore, the ALU program is an efficient and innovative tool to address this problem.

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