Thursday, November 24, 2011

What To Do With Your Used Cooking Oil

Thanksgiving is the national Turkey Day and the day all the heavy cooking starts, warming up for the Holidays in December. Oil is most certainly one of the ingredients used when preparing those meals, like the famous deep-fried turkey that uses three to five gallons of peanut oil.

After those meals are cooked, what should you do with all that oil? What is the best way for you to dispose of it?

Disposing of gallons of fryer oil can seem overwhelming. Landfills are not allowed to accept liquid wastes, so what do you do with it all? Pouring it down the kitchen sink or the storm drain is simply asking for a clogged pipe. Instead, Newport News recommends, choose one of the following options – for best results, use a container with a tight-fitting lid:
  • Store the oil in the original container for reuse. Strain out any particles and freeze. Oil can be kept for up to six months and reused for up to six hours of fry time.
  • Freeze it and then throw the hardened oil away on trash day.
  • Mix it with unscented kitty litter, sawdust, or sand to solidify the oil. Double-bag it and dispose of it in the trash. Avoid scented or disinfectant types of kitty litter as they can react with the oil and cause afire.
  • Place small amounts of oil in tightly sealed, unbreakable containers in the trash. It is not recommended to dispose of large amounts in trash as containers may leak, causing problems with garbage trucks and at solid waste facilities, adds East Bay Municipal Utility District.
  • Use a paper towel to wipe up small amounts of cooking oil, such as meat drippings. Throw the paper towels in the trash.
  • Recycle it. Cooking oil can be recycled into soap, bio-fuel, cosmetics and stockfeed, and biodiesel. The Brevard County Recyclopedia lists Green Oil Recyclers (321-403-1771). They accept up to 1,000 gallons vegetable, canola, peanut, sunflower oil, etc. Contact them to arrange for a pick up -- yes, they will come to you and pick it up! Another option suggested on the county's solid waste management page is to contact local recycler Elias Victor at 321-298-1846.
  • Never pour oil and grease down the drain or toilet bowl, and avoid using hot water to wash the grease away. “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,” advises Earth911

Why it is important to properly dispose of used oil

As posted on Wikipedia, proper disposal of used cooking oil is an important waste-management concern. Oil is lighter than water and tends to spread into thin and broad membranes which hinder the oxygenation of water. Because of this, a single liter of oil can contaminate as much as 1 million liters of water. Also, oil can congeal on pipes provoking blockages.


A Side Note on Ocean Pollution

"Although it covers more than 70 percent of the surface of the Earth, water is one of the most precious natural resources of our planet. The reason being that about 97 percent of it is salty, and therefore undrinkable, a further 2 percent is locked in glaciers and polar ice caps, thus leaving just about 1 percent of it useful for drinking and cooking. Apart from clean drinking water, we also need to keep the waters in the oceans, rivers, and lakes unpolluted because otherwise it harms the very planet we survive on.

With human populations increasing rapidly it has resulted in us polluting all the water resources of our planet, so much so, precious and unique organisms and ecosystems are being harmed and are even dying at an alarming rate" (http://www.buzzle.com/articles/ways-to-prevent-water-pollution.html).

Oil is one of the types of pollution we need to worry about and “one of the greatest sources of oil pollution is people who pour various cooking oils and grease down the sink drains in their homes” (http://greenliving.lovetoknow.com/Types_of_Ocean_Pollution).

So it is best to keep grease and food scraps out of your sink and toilet drains. Make sure to scrape food scraps, oil and grease from kitchen utensils and equipment before washing to help keep grease out of wash water.

Let's help the environment and properly dispose of the oil we use.

Recycle Brevard!