YES! teams are partnering with East Side Oil Company! Currently three teams; Royalton, Westbrook-Walnut Grove, and Lac qui Parle Valley have oil recycling sites that are generating donations to support their team. We are just starting to discover the potential of this partnership and hope that many more teams can participate in the future. With YES! teams keen on decreasing the harmful effects of oil pollution, read on to learn how oil recycling got its start in Minnesota.
The following is a story from the East Side Oil Company:
“Back in November of 1963 Denis Feneis started East Side Oil Company on a little more than a shoestring and a worn out 1945 dodge oil truck. We needed to learn mechanics in a hurry to keep the old dodge running and East Side Oil Company in business. When I was taught to execute my first oil change we were all told that used oil was to be simply poured on the ground since it was thought to be a wonderful weed and dust control agent. Even at 8 years old, and never a mention of the environment, or even the word recycling for that matter, it just didn’t feel like the right thing to do!
So back in the early 1970’s we buried a used 10,000-gallon underground tank purchased for $100.00 that was pulled from our civic center here in St. Cloud, keeping in mind tank regulations weren’t even a thought at that time. We hired a local sign painter for $35.00 to design a sign that simply read, “Please pour your used oil here”. Slowly the people noticed the sign and started using the facility. It took years to fill the tank but to our amazement the first 10,000 gallons was collected and what made me feel the best is that it was kept out of our environment. Now, the $64,000 question, what to do with it? We contacted Jake Bauerly of Bauerly Bro’s Road Construction. He was very reluctant since we really didn’t know what we had due to the fact that thousands of people dumped in, but Jake was willing to take a chance on us, and with that the concept of public used oil recycling was born.
We were encouraged because the 10,000-gallon tank filled quicker each time we emptied it. We knew it was a hit, but most importantly our environment was the big winner. So then we said, “what if we buy a truck and start servicing the full service local and commercial generators?” and with that we were off to the races!
We then learned from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency that they estimated 600,000 to 2,000,000 gallons of used oil were being dumped in the respective 87 counties of Minnesota and they went on to say that just one gallon of used oil can render as much as 1,000,000 gallons of drinking water undrinkable. We knew someone had to address this potentially devastating environmental threat.
We approached our local officials at Stearns Country Environmental Services and they, with some help from SCORE Funds, allowed us to open the 2nd local site at the wastewater treatment plant in Cold Spring, MN in 1999. We then knew a public education and awareness program was our next step. So, in 2000 we introduced the public to our spokes drop, “Drippy the Oil Drop”, and now Drippy appears on all shelf talkers, print ads, etc.
Roughly 15 years, $10,000,000 and 60 locations later here we are asking for everyone’s help, big or small, to support East Side Oil Company Recycling Division so we can continue to add more public sites in counties throughout Minnesota. We can all feel good knowing we have kept literally millions of gallons of used oil out of our precious ground waters.
Our goal in the future is to make sure there is a Used Oil Public Site in every community that does not have a proper way to dispose of their oil.
To all the younger people out there, dream your dream. At some point if it is thinkable it is usually doable. If it hasn’t been done. It may be by you.”