What to do With Used Cooking Oil?

What to do With Used Cooking Oil?

larrysharon Blog 3 Comments

What to do with used cooking oil? If you are like most people, you generate more than your fair share of used cooking oil throughout the week.  However, you probably don’t know where to put this used oil.  Furthermore, if you own or operate a restaurant or catering company, you likely have an abundance of used cooking oil and might not have a place to put it or know how to dispose of it in an environmentally-friendly manner.  Fret not, our team has all the answers.

How to Dispose of Used Cooking Oil?

Dispose of Used Cooking Oil

Whether you have cooked up some tasty fried chicken, bacon, beef or another meat, you are likely wondering what to do with the used cooking oil.  The worst possible thing you can do is dump this oil down the drain as it will cause nasty clogging that makes it difficult for water and other liquids to move down the drain.  It is even possible for such dumped oil to damage your valuable plumbing below.  Resist the temptation to dump the oil on the ground outdoors as doing so might harm animals. 

Though you can certainly save your used cooking oil for use at a later time, there is no guarantee you will actually use it.  If you own or manage a restaurant, you will likely have so much cooking oil that there is simply too much to use.  Instead, the better option is to dispose of the cooking oil.  Your local solid waste management department might have disposal regulations or recommendations.  

If you do not mind putting in a little bit of work, considering giving the oil some time to cool.  Pour the oil into a nonrecyclable container.  Put the lid on the container and place it in the garbage.  Examples of containers that will serve this purpose include cardboard milk cartons, takeout containers, Styrofoam containers and plastic/wax-lined paper containers.

It is also possible to dispose of cooking oil with a grease disposal system.  If you fry food at a high frequency, a grease disposal system consisting of foil bags within a plastic receptacle will accommodate upwards of 32 oz. worth of cooking oil.  

Used oil Recycling – What do you do With Oil After Deep Frying?

Used oil Recycling

Now that you have deep fried your favorite food and enjoyed a tasty meal, your thoughts are likely turning to how to properly recycle the used oil.  You can perform DIY (do it yourself) used oil recycling but only to a certain extent.  Allow the cooking oil to cool before handling it.  Otherwise, you run the risk of burning your skin.  You can freeze or refrigerate the oil and use it for another round of cooking in the days ahead.  Just be sure to re-use the oil before it goes bad.  

Most people prefer to recycle their used cooking oil with the help of professionals.  Conduct a search for waste collection centers in your zip code to find those who take used cooking oil and convert it into biofuel.  

It is also possible to recycle used cooking oil in the form of soap.  Soap is typically comprised of fat, similar to the fat found in cooking oil.  In fact, it is even possible to use cooking oil in your compost heap as earthworms and other insects will eat it up.  However, if the cooking oil was used to cook meat as opposed to plants, it is a mistake to put it into a compost pit as doing so might attract comparably large animals such as skunks, rats and raccoons.

Cooking oil can also be recycled as a non-toxic pesticide.  If you have a plant that is being attacked by insects, you can reuse the oil by placing it in a spray bottle and spraying it across that plant.  This approach helps destroy the insects and prevent them from returning.

Most people have heard about cooking oil being turned into fuel yet are uncertain about the process.  Indeed, used cooking oil can be converted into biodiesel fuel.  As time progresses, that many more restaurants are converting their used oil into this fuel yet few do it on their own.  Rather, restaurants often donate the used cooking oil and grease to companies that make and sell biofuel.

Can I put Used Cooking Oil in my Garden?

Possibly.  If you have a compost and you used the cooking oil to make plant-based food, you can add it to your compost or garden.  Insects and other little critters will consume the oil and generate waste that helps your plants grow.  However, if the cooking oil was used to make any type of meat, the odor will attract larger animals who will eat your plants and ruin your garden.  Even if you do not have a compost or garden, your city or a neighbor likely has a compost bin service or garden that can benefit from your used cooking oil.  So be sure to ask around to find out if anyone needs your used cooking oil before disposing of it another manner.

The amount of the cooking oil in question is particularly important.  If you have an abundance of cooking oil, it is a mistake to dump it into your garden or compost.  Only place small amounts of cooking oil in your garden.  Otherwise, you run the risk of attracting rodents or simply overpowering your plants with oil that will prove destructive.  As long as the vegetable oil in question is of the sunflower, olive oil or corn oil variety, it should prove beneficial to your garden or compost.

It is also possible to make slow release fertilizer from used cooking oil.  This variety of fertilizer really does enhance plant health while minimizing nutrient waste.  The bottom line is plant-based used cooking oil contains minerals that prove beneficial to most types of soil and plants.  Furthermore, used vegetable oil might also kill the weeds that are ruining your garden.  Pour the used vegetable oil directly on the weed stem and foliage, come back a few days later and the weed should be dead or in the process of dying.

What is Used Cooking oil Good For?

Once again – what to do with used cooking oil? Used cooking oil is good for plenty of purposes aside from reuse when cooking other meals.  Cooking oil can be recycled into biodiesel fuel, added to gardens/composts to promote plant growth and kill weeds and also serve additional purposes.  If you decide to reuse the cooking oil, be sure to cool it and strain it with a cheesecloth to eliminate bits of leftover food.  Store the used cooking oil in a glass jar and place it in a cupboard that has minimal exposure to light.  Though you can reuse cooking oil several times, it will eventually degrade.  As soon as you notice the oil has an odd odor, develops foam or looks murky, recycle it in one of the manners detailed above.

Though few know it, used cooking oil can be used as a household lubricant.  Apply the oil to the locks and hinges throughout your house and it will prevent the formation of rust while helping to ensure those locks/doors turn appropriately.  Used cooking oil can also be used in the following ways:

  • Lamp oil fuel
  • Furniture conditioner, protector and polisher
  • Leather preservative 
  • Paint remover
  • Soap
  • Hair moisturizer

What to do With Used Cooking Oil and How to Get Rid of it?

How to Get Rid of used cooking oil

Refrain from dumping used cooking oil down the sink drain and onto the grass outdoors.  Instead, donate the oil to local restaurants for repurposing.  Some local waste collection centers will also appreciate the oil as it can be converted into biodiesel fuel. There is a good chance the local department of public works operates a no-cost cooking oil recycling program.  Hop on Google and conduct a search for “cooking oil recycling near me”.  If there is such a program in your area, store the used cooking oil in a coffee can or a resealable container and recycle it in your garden or compost. 

If you don’t have a garden or compost, put the used oil in a container that cannot be recycled and place it in the trash.  However, trashing the used oil is a last resort.  If there is any option for recycling, seize the opportunity to recycle it and you will have done your part to benefit our increasingly fragile environment.

Used Cooking Oil Containers – Where to Find?

Used Cooking Oil Containers

Used cooking oil containers can be found in a variety of places.  For one, Amazon.com has used cooking oil containers for sale.  Some local restaurants also likely have used cooking oil containers.  Grease vendors commonly carry these containers as well.  If you plan on putting your used cooking oil in such a container, make sure you choose one that is the proper size.  

If you have a single fryer and dump the oil from it only once per week or even less, a 50 gallon lockable drum will suffice.  However, if you own one or several restaurants with a high volume of customers, you will need a lockable metal container that accommodates 200 or 300 gallons.  When in doubt, reach out to our team for assistance in finding the best used cooking oil containers.

Comments 3

  1. Pingback: Used Cooking Oil: A Hot Commodity! - Green Star Biodiesel

  2. Pingback: Cooking Oil Recycling - How To Do It in a Right Way?

  3. Thank you for explaining that there are some recycling programs for cooking oil. I’ve always wondered how I was supposed to get rid of cooking oil. I’ll be sure to look into this to see if there’s somewhere I can dispose of it in the area.

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