Oil and grease are unavoidable products of frying, cooking, and even baking. Pouring the liquid grease or scraping shortening leftovers into the kitchen sink may appear to be the best and easiest approach to deal with the stinky, slippery oils, but this is not the case.
Even if you simply pour just a few drops into the sink, drains clogged with oils and grease will eventually jam. Fortunately, there are a number of safe and straightforward methods for disposing of cooking grease without causing a costly plumbing disaster.
How Can I Safely Dispose of Grease?
The simple solution is to toss it in the garbage. However, not all kitchens are run in the same manner. And grease, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, can “kill or hurt wildlife” and cause a slew of other environmental problems.
This blog post explains how to detect if yours needs to be disposed of and provides the best solutions for safely and responsibly disposing of cooking oil.
1. Use the Sniff Test to See if it’s Time to Trash
Used cooking oil does not need to be tossed after one usage. If you’ve been frying in a pan and don’t want to waste the excess oil, strain it through a big coffee filter and store it in a sealable jar on a cold, dark shelf. Many deep fryers are built to keep their oil for reuse, and straining a full tank is inconvenient. Provided that it passes the smell test below, you can keep using it.
In due time, all cooking oil will eventually go stale. Give it a sniff to see if yours has gone rancid. A light, clean aroma indicates that the oil is in good condition, but a metallic or bitter aroma—even one that smells like crayons!—indicates that it is beyond its prime. Rub a little oil on your thumb and forefinger if you’re not sure: Fresh oil should feel smooth and light, but if it becomes sticky or tacky, it’s time to dump it.
2. Carefully Prepare the Grease for Disposal
Before it may be properly handled, cooking oil must reach room temperature. After turning off an enclosed deep fryer, oil can maintain enough heat to inflict significant burns for over an hour. You will need to be patient and wait for it to cool completely.
Motor oil is another hazardous waste that need to cool off before disposal. You might want to see How to Dispose of Motor Oil.
3. Pour Grease into Sealable Container and Trash It.
Scrape the clotted form of shortening or lard into an empty shortening coffee can or any other sealable tin and close the top. You may then place it in your waste bin and throw it out with your usual kitchen garbage as long as it’s in a sealed container.
The simplest approach to dispose of used cooking oil is to pour it into a lidded can that you’re willing to forfeit. If you’re using a plastic deli container, securely wrap it in plastic wrap before discarding it, as oil tends to leak out of these containers. (Sadly, properly disposing of cooking oil at home is not very eco-friendly.)
Consider acquiring a grease keeper if you frequently make fried dishes with modest amounts of grease that you don’t want to reuse. Disposable foil liners are included with this handy cook’s assistant, which is usually composed of metal or stoneware. Replace the cover after pouring or scraping used grease into the foil-lined container. Continue to fill the canister with used oil until it gets to the fill line, then fold the top of the foil liner, take it out of the canister, and discard the foil bag.
4. Get in Touch with Big Restaurants Nearby
Commercial kitchens must comply with tight legislation controlling the disposal of cooking fats in most jurisdictions, including mandatory grease traps and trash collection that transports significant amounts of spent grease and oil to be turned into biofuel.
If you know any large-scale food establishments, such as restaurants or college dining halls, that are part of oil-recycling schemes, it’s not a bad idea to ask if you may use their oil dumpster occasionally. Your used grease will be part of the cooking oil collected in drums, hauled away by waste management firms, and used to make biodiesel.
5. Take Your Grease to a Recycling Facility
While you could easily dump your filled (and sealed) can into the garbage and carry it to the curb, this isn’t the only option for disposing of cooking oil. In fact, if you’re concerned about the environment, you might be able to drop off old cooking oil at a recycling facility, where it will be converted into biodiesel fuel.
This does not only help to lessen the demand for fossil fuel production; it is also the most environmentally friendly option. Earth911.com offers an interactive search tool to help you figure out what sorts of recyclable items are collected in your area. Simply input your zip code to see whether a cooking oil recycling pickup location is located near you.
6. Cooking Grease Can Be “Donated” for Biofuel.
Biofuels, unlike fossil fuels, are fuels that are created or comprised of renewable biological sources. The most well-known biofuels today are ethanol and biodiesel, although the biofuel business is still in its infancy. More inventions are always being developed.
Biodiesel is a fast-growing fuel sector that truly wants your grease! They’ll also foot the bill (only for large quantities though). Check to see if you can contribute your old cooking oil to an existing collection at a restaurant and have it picked up by a “grease dealer.”
7. Absorb Grease with Old Paper and Discard It
If you have paper towels in your kitchen, save the old ones to soak in the oil before discarding them. As a result, there won’t be a need to use a recyclable container.
When old paper towels are tossed away, they’re usually soiled, so recycling them isn’t always a smart idea. They can, however, absorb grease.
If old newspapers aren’t yellowed or unclean, they can be recycled. But they may also be used to absorb up the oil before discarding it.
8. Make Candles, Soaps, and Balms from Grease
If you enjoy both recycling and making crafts, try some of these ideas for making non-food things from cooking fats, such as long-burning tallow candles, good, old-fashioned soap, and other nutrient-rich skincare products.
Remember that our forefathers produced these items on a regular basis. Once you’ve gotten some practice, you might repurpose your leftover cooking fat into handcrafted presents to give to family and friends.
9. Compost Your Rancid Cooking Grease
There’s some controversy regarding whether or not organic grease and oil should be composted, and if so, what proportions are appropriate.
It appears that these fats can be composted in little amounts at a time by putting them in your compost bin. But make sure you don’t forget about it there. It’s extremely crucial to stir and aerate the compost with extra oil.
The reason you should only use a tiny amount of oil is that it generates a water-resistant barrier and restricts air movement, delaying decomposition. Grease attracts undesirable animals and pests as well. Learning the 5 Ways to Get Rid Of Maggots in Trash Can might help.
Alternative Methods of Disposal to Avoid
Avoid Tossing Grease Outside
To some individuals, opening the back door and dumping a pan of boiling oil out the back door may appear to be a reasonable method for disposing of cooking grease. It should merely trickle away through the soil, but that isn’t the case.
Oil and grease will eventually trickle down, causing damage to sewage and plumbing systems and maybe endangering your entire neighborhood. If you must dispose of old cooking oil outside, make sure it is in the trash can.
Avoid Pouring Hot Liquid Oil into the Garbage
As common sense indicates, thin waste bags and high heat don’t mix well. Pouring hot grease directly into the garbage will result in a sticky mess. When the time comes to remove the damaged bag, this will only get worse. Furthermore, when your trash management business begins processing trash, grease-filled bags will cause problems.
When you know how to properly dispose of cooking oil, it doesn’t require much work. Avoid the inevitable clogged drains by taking a few additional precautions to ensure that our planet is kept as clean as possible.
We’ve put together many guides on how to dispose of household items. You might also want to see How to Dispose of Propane Tanks.