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The Family Car lesson is designed to inform recent immigrants about recycling used motor oil and filters. PDF document Research Research commissioned by the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), formerly the California Integrated Waste Management Board and conducted by San Francisco State University showed that immigrants in the U.S. less than 15 years are more than five times as likely to improperly dispose of used motor oil as the general population.

To reach this important and challenging audience, we create partnerships with adult ESL (English as Second Language) programs, an excellent venue for conducting environmental education to newcomers. The lesson is currently taught in ESL programs in more than 20 counties in California.

The goal of the project is behavior change: proper recycling of oil and filters by people who change their own oil and have previously disposed of the wastes in the trash, down drains, or on the ground. To accomplish this, we create local versions of the lesson with very specific information for students on where and how to recycle oil and filters. We also provide teachers with extensive resources including local information.

Funding for this project is from CalRecycle’s Used Oil Recycling Program. C2: Alternative Services received a Research, Demonstration and Testing Grant in 2005. The PDF document final report for that grant documents the project’s success in diverting used oil and filters from improper disposal:

  • Used oil collection centers within 10 miles of a school location where the lesson is taught reported 5% more oil collected compared to other collection centers. This translates to 100,000 gallons of used oil diverted during the first year the lesson was taught in 19 counties.
  • Students in the ESL classes where the lesson is taught have a rate of DIYer oil changing more than twice the average of the general population.
  • Almost all students surveyed report that they have informed others in their communities about recycling of used oil and filters.
  • Students in classes taught so far have spoken a total of almost 100 different languages. Over 1900 classes have been taught, including over 35,000 students.

Graphic of chart: "Do it yourselfers: Students versus the general population"

Local jurisdictions continue to fund the project with Used Oil Block Grant funds in over 20 California counties. For information, please contact refugio@solunaoutreachsolutions.com.

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