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Recycling Cooking Oil

By Earth911 |
It's easy to guzzle oil in the car and even more so in the kitchen. Learn how to properly get rid of that grease.
Courtesy of Earth911 | Originally Published: 01/27/10

Most people know that cooking with oil and grease is not particularly good for the human body. However, you may not realize that improper disposal of the fats from our cooking is bad for the environment as well.

Tossing what seems to be a little bit of kitchen waste in the trash or down the drain can harm wildlife and wreak havoc on local sewage systems. Here is a list of things you may or may not know about recycling oil:

Cooking oil and kitchen grease in our plumbing is the number one cause of stopped up sewer pipes.

  • Waste oil turned into biodiesel may produce 87 percent less emissions than regular diesel.

  • In Kilmarnock, Scotland, you can now pay for your bus fare by taking used oil to a recycling plant.

  • Your recycled oil has to go through a chemical process called "transesterification" before it can become biodiesel. So don't start pouring cooking oil straight into your gas tank.

  • You can recycle cooking oil and motor oil, but never mix them. They are different substances, which go through different recycling processes. Mixing results in the inability to recycle either one.

  • Plan ahead when planning to recycle. Don't wait until you have a pan of leftover oil to dump. Make a designated waste oil container, label it and put it somewhere everyone in your home can easily access.

  • Grease sticks to pipes in small particles, which catch each other, collecting until the mass is large enough to block, and thus backup, sewage lines.

  • If you have small amounts of kitchen grease (such as lard, shortening or tallow) which you cannot avoid going down the drain, then use cold water so that it solidifies and is less likely to stick to the pipes.

  • Cooking oil and kitchen grease in our plumbing is the number one cause of stopped up sewer pipes.

  • Try putting up a "no grease here" sign or other reminder for you and your family. After you've all establish better habits, you can take it down again.

  • Some companies, and even cities, will offer a temporary increase in the number of drop-off points for recycling used oil in your area just after Thanksgiving.

Check Earth911 to locate a recycling center in your area that accepts cooking oil.

Share your own cooking-oil recycling tips in the comments below!

Share with Your Friends & Family
  • Margaret B. 6 years ago
    I just takes a little effort to save a lot of our planet.
  • amanda s. 6 years ago
    re use
  • Elaine F. 6 years ago
    I just keep reusing the cooking oil.
  • Michelle C. 6 years ago
    I had no idea you could recycle cooking oil! I never even thought of it!
  • Carol F. 6 years ago
    This seems more difficult to do. We hardly use any oil to begin with, mostly small amts of olive oil, which we end up eating. I will try to implement ideas. We should be concerned for future generations. Life did not begin when we were born and will not end when we die. Most people get that, however, some do not

    I wish we could pay for something with our saved oils! Met-Ed bill!
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