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How to Properly Dispose of Cooking Oil

How to Properly Dispose of Cooking Oil

Whether you’re a gourmet chef or the furthest you like to venture into the world of cooking is to fry an egg (no shame there!), one thing is sure: you likely use cooking oil. But no matter what type of oil you use – vegetable, olive, coconut – it can have a truly terrible impact on your property if you dispose of it incorrectly.

That’s easy for us to say. Who even knew there were wrong ways to get rid of oil? That’s precisely what we’re here for: we’ve put together all the information you need on exactly what to do – and not to do! – when it comes to disposing of your oil after making your signature dish.

Easy Steps to Safely Dispose of Used Cooking Oil

  1. Store and Dispose Along With Other Household Waste – While it’s very important not to pour hot oil away, cold oil is another thing entirely. In fact, if you ask us, it’s far more convenient to throw out oil when it’s cool to the touch or at room temperature. Why? This is because it solidifies, and you can then throw it out with the rest of the trash. Simply choose a container you don’t have any significant attachment to, then use it to fill with your leftover oil. Continue this procedure until the container is filled, and then throw it in the garbage with everything else. Easy!
  2. Visit a Recycling Center – The technical term is household hazardous waste (HHW) centers, and they happen to be incredibly helpful places! That’s because not only do they deal with cooking oil, but they cover a whole load of other waste products that you can’t throw out with regular trash, such as medical waste. If you’re lucky, they might even offer a door service, so you won’t need to leave your comfortable home to dispose of your oil safely! Once they collect your waste, they will ensure it is disposed of safely and ethically, so you can be sure that it’s being done correctly and above board.
  3. Reuse It – If your initial thoughts are that you weren’t even aware you could reuse cooking oil, you wouldn’t be the only one. And if you’re questioning how healthy or ‘clean’ it might be given that it’s already been utilized, that’s fair, too. Don’t worry; we’ve thought of it all. In fact, reusing your cooking oil is entirely safe for you to do. At worst, the oil will taste a little of what you last cooked, so keep that in mind if you plan on making some sweet pancakes, but last night’s dinner was fried chicken!
  4. Use It To Feed Birds – Do you have access to a garden near your home? Perhaps you’re a big lover of birds? Well, it’s your lucky day because you’re going to love this next disposal method. Have you ever wondered what bird feed is made from? If not, we can confirm they’re oil-based products. That means you can make your very own from home with your leftover cooking oil. Simply mix with flour, oats, seeds, and any other bird feed you might have, roll it into a ball, and pop it in the fridge. Once solid, sprinkle even more birdseed before hanging it and letting the birds come to you!
  5. Turn It Into Soap – If you’re a big lover of arts and crafts, sustainability, and homemade products made from carbon-neutral ingredients, this one is for you. Most soaps are oil-based, and that means you have the opportunity to make your own. Yes, even from cooking oil! Once you have added vinegar, lye, and your favorite essential oils, any semblance of your last meal will have vanished, and you’ll be left with a gorgeous-smelling, effective soap to use in your next shower! Just make sure to sieve the oil first so you don’t end up washing yourself with tiny bits of mushroom – or whatever you cooked last!

How Not To Dispose of Cooking Oil

To avoid any doubt, we’ve included a robust list of ways in which you definitely should not be disposing of your cooking oil. That’s because using any of these methods can actually lead to some pretty serious problems for your plumbing or, even worse, lead to a grease fire. Avoid these like the plague!

  • Pour It Down the Drain – While it seems like the most obvious method of disposing of your oil, pouring it down the drain is almost sure to cause significant and expensive problems with your plumbing later down the line. The main reason for that is based in science – when oil is hot, it’s liquid, but when it’s cold, it’s solid. So, if you pour liquid oil down the drain, later (after you’ve been running that cold tap) it will solidify and cause a clog in your pipes. It’s one of the most common kitchen mistakes, so save yourself time and money and use one of our approved methods above.
  • Flush It Down the Toilet – This one always surprises us at All Dry USA. It may seem like a good solution, but we’re here to tell you not to do that. Your toilet plumbing is not too dissimilar to that of your kitchen sink, and the chemistry of oil is the same regardless of where you put it. That means problems will undoubtedly arise should you pour oil down there. Water and oil are not friends; let them be.
  • Pour Directly Into a Trash Can – It might come as a surprise to read this, but pouring hot oil directly into the garbage is definitely a no-go option. The consequences are worse than you imagine. In fact, you even run the risk of causing fires! Your trash can is full of all sorts of materials, and adding boiling oil to that is simply a recipe for disaster. The best-case scenario is that you will attract pests and make a mess, but for the safety of everyone, please avoid doing this at all costs.
  • Add It To the Septic System – As with the kitchen sink and the toilet, the septic system is a network of drains and pipes filled with waste and water and who knows what else. The difference is the scale of plumbing. Septic systems can be hugely expansive and even connect to drainage fields and distribution lines. If you add cooking oil to this, you run far worse risks than simply clogging it up – you could accidentally contribute to the pollution of local waterways. We know that’s not what you want, so try one of our above reliable methods instead.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Should I Dispose of Cooking Oil at Home?

There are several methods to dispose of your cooking oil safely. The easiest, cheapest, and best ways to do this are to let it cool and solidify, then throw it in the regular trash, recycle it at an HHW center, reuse it, or – for the more creative types – try making your own soap or birdfeed!

Can You Put Cooking Oil Down the Drain?

Under no circumstances should cooking oil be poured down any drains. If you do this, you run the risk of clogging your plumbing which can lead to an expensive repair job. Instead, let the oil cool and solidify, then throw it away in your regular trash.

Final Thoughts

Properly disposing of your cooking oil doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, but one thing is for sure – do not pour it down the drain! However, we understand that accidents happen in the home, and if you find yourself with a clogged drain, we’ve got you covered.

At All Dry USA, we have a team of specialists who will repair your drains to a professional level with expert knowledge and confidence. We have experience with all sorts of plumbing problems, so get in touch now to get your drains back to their former glory!

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