How To Best Dispose Of Cooking Oil
If you’re a foodie or avid home chef, then you will be familiar with the extent of the clean-up needed when you’ve used a bunch of cooking oil. Leftover bacon grease, chip frying oil, and more can easily build up and become an issue for you to deal with. You can imagine that same issue taking place in restaurants, only on a larger scale.
One of the first things they warn you not to do when deep-frying is to pour the oil down the drain. But how else are you supposed to dispose of the liquid oil taking up space in your pots and pans?
Well, the reality is that unless you make proper arrangements for your waste cooking oil, you might be dropping a lot of money onto a plumber and pipe refitting instead. This is because when liquid oil goes into the sewer system and starts to cool down, it starts to pack together and creates big, smelly compactions of fats, oils, and grease that need to be removed by professionals.
Back to the question: how to best dispose of cooking oil. We’ve put together everything you need to know, the do’s and don’ts below:
Why Cooking Oil Is A Wastewater Issue
Disposal of cooking oils and residential FOG is of great concern to those that deal with wastewater management or sewer collection systems. Once these materials make their way into the collection system or wastewater treatment plant, it becomes an expensive headache with plenty of bad consequences.
The first consequence is the sewage backup caused by the blockages in residential or commercial plumbing systems. The solidified used oil will cause awful smells to arise, typically causing individuals to pour more drain cleaner or hot water down their drains to no avail. It won’t make the problem go away, and most commercially-available drain cleaners lack the strength to destroy the build-up.
Left unresolved, these blockages can then cause infrastructure damage that can eventually cause your water and sanitation costs to rise. Another consequence that ends up costing you more money. This is because wastewater treatment infrastructure will need to be maintained on a regular basis or replaced if it’s not caught in time.
The good news is that there are more sustainable ways to deal with cooking oil. We’ll go into more detail about the different approaches you can use here:
Reusing Cooking Oils
If you deep-fry on a regular basis, you might want to consider reusing your oils instead of dumping them all out or putting them down the drain.
The best way to do this is to strain your oil through a filter or cheesecloth to remove any solids that might be left in the cooking oil. You can do this several times to “clean” your oil. Then you just need to store it in a cool, dark place until you’re ready to use it again.
Bear in mind that your oil should, at most, only be reused once or twice. You can easily check it by doing a sniff test: any rancid smells mean that the oil has now gone bad and it’s better to throw it out. This is because oil deteriorates with every use, which will change the smoke point.
Now that you have no choice but to get rid of it, you need to know what the safest disposal methods are for cooking oil, whether you’re a home cook or a professional working in a restaurant kitchen.
Use A Disposable Container
This is one of the easiest ways to get rid of cooking oil without putting it down the drain. The key is to find something that will seal well and ensure that you aren’t pouring hot oil into it.
Your best practice is always to ensure that your oils have been chilled or even frozen in the refrigerator before you put them into a disposable container like an empty milk bottle. This helps to prevent any melting or other bad spills from happening. It also prevents animals or pests from taking interest in your trash bags.
If you’ve used even a small amount of oil, you should still dispose of it using your general kitchen trash. Use a paper towel or other absorbent materials like food scraps to sop up the majority of the oil from your pan or plate before washing them. This can then easily be disposed of.
Mix It With Something Else
Oil can only be reused once or twice, so it has reached the end of its lifeline you need to throw it away. If disposable containers aren’t an option, or if the oil amount is too big, you should consider mixing it with another material before throwing it away.
The material you choose should ideally be something affordable but that you can throw away without worrying too much about environmental damage. Materials like sand or sawdust are a great solution since they can absorb the old oil and allow you to throw your old cooking oils away more easily.
They’re also natural materials, and so they’ll have less impact on the environment.
Buy A Grease Disposal System
One of the biggest culprits behind FOG build-up in sewage collection systems is restaurants. Since these locations tend to do a lot of frying often, they put out more cooking oil than a residential home can.
In this case, it’s best to invest in a grease disposal system for your commercial kitchen. This kit typically gives you a special plastic container that comes with lined bags made to hold larger amounts of oil.
Look Into Official Recycling Efforts
Some states actually have specific collection programs that you can make use of to recycle your used cooking oil into other materials like biodiesel.
Biodiesel is a cleaner fuel source that is often used in fleet vehicles, or as heating oil for other equipment. Try and do some research to find out if this is an option for you.
Things That You Should Never Do With Cooking Oil
Putting your used oil down the drain isn’t the only thing you need to avoid doing with cooking oil. There are a few other no-no’s to keep in mind if you want to avoid paying for serious repairs or professional intervention.
Another thing you never want to do is add oil to your septic tank system since this can directly lead to pollution in local waterways.
Hot oils should also never be disposed of in a bin - this is because it will attract pests like rats or insects. Always check that the oils are properly chilled and contained before putting them into your trash.
Your leftover oil should also never be thrown out in your garden or into the outside soil. Once it rains, the oil will soak into the groundwater and suffocate surrounding plants. The same goes for your compost pile - putting your used oil there will eventually cause serious moisture and oxygen issues that will be bad for your fertilizer.
Animal fats should also never be put into your compost since this is likely to start attractive vermin.
Oh No! I’ve Been Putting Oil Down The Drain All This Time!
Maybe you’ve been making use of bad practices all this time, and putting your cooking oil down the drain. If you’ve noticed that there is a bad smell coming from your drains, the build-up of FOG is likely to have already taken place.
And once FOG is in your system, it’s not just going to go away.
Most FOG hotspots are created by one of two sources – restaurants and manufacturers, especially food-related ones.
In-Pipe Technology has developed a solution to eliminate FOG buildup before it becomes an issue for you. We let you treat and solve the problem, not chase it.
Our proprietary bacteria solution metabolizes FOG naturally and is safe for your system. We don’t use harsh chemicals or surfactants that can cause issues for your pipes and infrastructure because we’re in the business of solving problems for you, not creating them. Once the system is set up, we run it – saving you and your staff time and money.
In-Pipe’s science-based approach addressed the FOG problems near the points of entry. This saves manpower and costs and puts you back in control of your system. That means you get:
-Quick, long-lasting results: We’re committed to providing you with the last FOG solution you’ll ever need
-Financial ROI: In-Pipe’s solution will also save you from the costs associated with jet/vacing, manpower and even help address odors and SSOs
-Beats the alternatives: This is a better solution than jet/vacing or using harsh chemicals. We’ve really thought through not only how to address FOG, but also how to avoid the common downsides of other ways to fight it. Our bioscience-based solution is all-natural, so it doesn’t introduce harmful chemical byproducts into your system or plant, and it doesn’t corrode or degrade your pipes and infrastructure.
Contact us today to get the best FOG elimination solution on the market!