From frying some bacon, to browning ground beef, to deep-frying a turkey, all these delicacies leave you with a lot of used oil that is difficult to dispose of. While it may be tempting to simply pour it down the drain, this shortcut may lead to costly repercussions that range from clogged sewer pipes, to basements flooded with sewage due to blockages caused by solidified oil.
Save It for Reuse
If you deep-fry on a regular basis, then the best solution is to save the oil for the next cooking session. To prepare it for storage, strain it with a standard coffee filter or using several layers of cheesecloth to separate clean oil from crumbs and other particles. Put the filtered oil in an airtight container and store it in a dark place. Keep in mind that the oil can only be reused once or twice, because it deteriorates each time you use it. If you notice a rancid smell, don’t reuse it.
Oil Disposal Options
If the oil can’t be reused, or if you don’t intend to save it for later, then you should dispose of it properly. Start by checking with your local waste disposal company for recommendations or regulations about oil disposal. There a number of things to do to prepare the oil for disposal at home.
- Allow the oil to cool completely before pouring it into a container with a lid, like a cardboard milk carton or a plastic or wax-lined paper container. Check whether your waste disposal company accepts take-out containers. The oil and container can then be disposed of in the garbage.
- Pour the oil in a tin or coffee mug and put it in the refrigerator or freezer to harden it. When it’s solidifies, remove it or scoop it out and throw it into the trash. Remember to wipe the oil off the mug with a napkin or paper towel before washing it.
- Cool the oil completely and pour it into a partially filled plastic trash bag. Any food scraps, paper towels, and other absorbent materials in the trash will help to contain the oil and keep it from leaking.
- Mix the oil with sand, sawdust, cat litter, or some other absorbent material and then discard it.
- If you deep fry on a regular basis, consider investing in a Fat Trapper system. this plastic receptacle holds foil-lined bags where you can pour used oil, seal it when it’s full, and dispose it in the garbage. One bag should hold 32 ounces of oil.
You Can also Recycle the Cooking Oil
Check if there is a waste disposal program in your city that collects used cooking oil for recycling into biodiesel.