Vegetable oil is a cooking oil that is made from plants. It is often used in recipes because it has a neutral flavor and a high smoke point. When it is no longer needed, you must dispose of it properly. Here are three methods for getting rid of vegetable oil: recycling, composting, and throwing it away. Never pour used vegetable oil down the sink!
Although it might be the simplest solution, pouring grease down drains clogs pipes in your kitchen and local sewage systems. Doing this will only cause more problems for yourself in the long run.
To help you how to dispose of vegetable oil properly, we have outlined safe, effective, and eco-friendly ways to do it at home. Remember that even a tiny amount of grease going down the drain can harm your home and the environment over time.
How to Dispose of Vegetable Oil?
1. Reuse Vegetable Oil
If you’d like to fry food soon or regularly, save the oil to use again. Strain it with a coffee filter or cheesecloth to remove any particles and crumbs. Then, pour it into an airtight container and store it in a dark place until ready to use.
You should only reuse oil once or twice; smell it before using. If it smells bad, get rid of it. With each reuse, keep in mind that oil quality deteriorates and its smoke point decreases.
2. Pour Into Disposable Container
To get rid of the oil, allow it to cool completely. Once cooled, pour it into a nonrecyclable container with a lid and dispose of it in the garbage. Some common non-recyclable containers that work well include cardboard milk cartons and similar wax- or plastic-lined paper containers. Styrofoam and other takeout containers also make good options.
3. Chill Until Solid
To properly dispose of your oil, you’ll need to freeze or refrigerate it first. Doing so will make the process much simpler and neater. If you have more than a cup of oil, pour it into an old can and place it in the freezer or fridge until it is solidified enough to come out in one piece. If you have less than a cup, do the same process but with a coffee mug instead.
4. Pour Small Amounts Into the Trash
If you have leftover oil, the best way to dispose of it is by cooling it down and then pouring it into a plastic trash bag that is not full. Oil spills can be prevented by adding paper towels or other absorbent materials. Additionally, this will keep food scraps from becoming rancid in your garbage.
5. Combine With Other Material
Mix the oil with an adsorbent such as cat litter, sand, or sawdust to avoid spilling. This will help solidify the liquid. If you have old oil that you need to get rid of, store it in a used container until it is full. Then, dump it into the kitty litter before taking it to trash day.
6. Purchase a Grease Disposal System
A grease disposal system kit can come in handy if you do a lot of frying. The kit usually contains a plastic receptacle and foil-lined bags that can each hold up to 32 ounces of oil. To use it, place cooled oil into one of the bags, seal it when full, and throw it in the garbage.
7. Recycle Vegetable Oil
Some cities recycle used vegetable oil into biodiesel, a much cleaner fuel. You can check Earth911 to see if there’s a recycler near you that will accept it. Biodiesel isn’t only limited to cars – many motor vehicles use it as well, and in some cases, it can even be used as heating oil.
Vegetable Oil Disposal Don’ts
There are a few rules to follow when getting rid of used vegetable oil. Never pour it down the drain or in the toilet, as this can clog your pipes and city sewer mains. Additionally, don’t add oil to a septic system, as it can clog pipes and distribution lines. Water contaminated with oil is difficult—sometimes impossible—to treat, which means it can eventually pollute local waterways.
Pouring hot oil into the trash can causes issues with garbage trucks, so pour it into a heat-resistant container and dispose of it in your regular garbage. You should also not dispose of vegetable oil in compost bins or piles, as fats are bad for compost.
The Bottom Line
It is important to dispose of your used vegetable oil properly. Pouring it down the drain will cause a build-up that can lead to costly plumbing issues. Next time you’re emptying the frying pan, hold onto that oil! Plenty of companies will take your kitchen grease and put it to good use. Not only is this better for the environment, but it’s also a great way to reduce waste.
Can I put vegetable oil down the drain?
Do not pour used vegetable oil, grease, salad dressing, or sauces down the sink, as it will clog your pipes. Do not use cloth towels or rags to clean greasy dishware; scrape them before washing.
When you wash greasy dishes or pans, do not run water over them, as the grease will end up in the sewer system.
Can vegetable oil be flushed down the toilet?
Pouring used vegetable oil down any drain, including sinks and toilets, is a home plumbing no-no. Oil will solidify in water and cause a clog in pipes. If the oily water reaches the sewer, it can further clog municipal lines causing extensive damage that carries a hefty repair bill.