If you regularly cook up a storm, you should know how to dispose of cooking oil the right way. Whether it’s frying or sipping our favorite foods, we often have excess oil at the end of the day. Although we often think the easiest (and fastest) way would be to pour oil down the sink or toilet, you’ve got it all wrong.
In fact, this will cause more harm than good. Once the oils solidify, they form clumps of fatty waste called ‘fatbergs’. This will inevitably clog the pipes and wreak havoc on your drains. In addition, these fatbergs can cause sewage backup, which can also pollute local waterways. Plus, the last thing you need is spending money on expensive repairs or plumbing calls.
Fortunately, there are safer and more economical ways to dispose of leftover oil. So whether you want to reuse or recycle, here’s how to dispose of cooking oil the right way.
1. Allow the cooking oil to cool
First, wait for the cooking oil to cool completely to avoid burns or serious accidents. Wait a few hours for it to cool or leave the oil overnight until it comes to room temperature. Additionally, for safety reasons, never lift or move pots or pans full of hot oil.
2. Empty into a disposable container for disposal
Once the cooking oil has cooled, transfer it to a non-recyclable container with a lid before disposing of it in the waste bin. Ideal containers include styrofoam with lids, milk cartons, or any other paper containers lined with wax or plastic. This method is much safer than pouring cold oil directly into the waste bin. Not only can this be messy, but it can attract flies and rodents.
3. Freeze the cooking oil until it solidifies
If you don’t have a resealable container available, another option is to pour the oil into a jar, can or mug and freeze it for a few hours. Once it is solid enough, use a spoon to scoop the oil directly into the waste bin. This will eliminate any messy spills and odors.
4. Reuse cooking oil
First, strain the oil through a coffee filter or a layer of cotton muslin (cheese cloth) to remove any particles or crumbs in the remaining oil. Then pour it into a clean, airtight container or bottle using a funnel. Peanut butter jars or plastic screw top containers are also great for storing cooking oil. It is also convenient to mark the container with the date and the type of food it was used to cook with. Keep in mind that you should only reuse oil once or twice due to the increase in smoke points and always throw it out when it smells horrible.
5. Recycle cooking oil
Alternatively, you can donate your cooking oil for recycling into biodiesel. Find out if your city offers collection programs for recycling used cooking oil or check Earth911 (opens in new tab) to see if there is an oil recycler near you. Depending on the area, some waste companies may offer bins that you can set for their specific collection times.
Biodiesel is a clean and renewable substitute for diesel oil. This is often used for city trucks and fleet vehicles and is much cleaner for the environment than other fuels.
6. Mix with other ingredients before discarding
If you don’t want to freeze or reuse cooking oil, you can mix leftover oil with an absorbent material before throwing it out. Materials such as sand, sawdust or even cat litter will easily absorb the liquid. Store the old oil in a used container and throw it in the trash when it’s time to empty the can into the trash.
Things you should never do when disposing of cooking oil
- Never empty down the drain or toilet, as this can clog not only your pipes, but can cause sewage backup.
- Never pour hot oil directly into a waste bin. Not only is this dangerous, but it can cause problems with garbage trucks and solid waste sites.
- Never add oil to compost waste, as oils contain fats that cannot be broken down with organic food.
If you like healthy eating, here you go how to cook using less oil;or you can invest in one of the best air fryers. Just be sure to check out our guide on how to use an air fryer for best results. If you like rice to go with your meals, here are 8 reasons why you should buy a rice cooker.