How to safely dispose of cooking or vegetable oil with the environment in mind

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You can follow some simple steps in order to safely dispose of cooking or vegetable oil, in the form of:

  • Allow the cooking oil to cool before you attempt to dispose of it
  • Remove the oil onto an eco-friendly, disposable material or container
  • Make sure to place another eco friendly material underneath (or around) the container in order to avoid spillages
  • You can bring your cooking or vegetable oil to a local waste recycling facility that accepts used oil and grease
  • If this is not possible, place the oil into the trash, making sure that the container is sealed and compactly stowed away

Steps to recycling cooking and vegetable oil

  • In your kitchen, designate an eco friendly container to dispose of used cooking or vegetable oil (refrigeration not necessary unless you plan to reuse your cooking oil)
  • Avail of recycling locators such as these to help locate a recycling service capable of recycling cooking oils in your locality
  • If a recycling service does not exist in your locality, refer to the steps above for domestic disposal

How can cooking or vegetable oil be recycled and reused?

The cooking or vegetable oil recycling process is dictated by the type of oil (i.e. cooking or vegetable oil) that is being recycled.

In a recycling processor, a process referred to as anaerobic digestion takes place, which breaks down the oils into a gas that can be later used as an alternative energy. Some cooking or vegetable oils can be recycled into:

  • Biofuel and biodiesel products
  • Cosmetic products 
  • Livestock feed
sink clean safe

Can I pour cooking or vegetable oil down the drain?

As you may have picked up from the points discussed above, you should not pour your cooking or vegetable oil down the drain. Pouring oils down the drain may lead to blockages both domestically and also across main city sewage systems.

Is it okay to dump cooking oil outside?

Disposing of cooking or vegetable oil outdoors is not sustainable in terms of waste disposal. Pouring oils down the drain may lead to blockages both domestically and also across main city sewage systems.

Oils dumped outdoors may lead to animal harm and death, according to the EPA. “Vegetable oils, and animal fats share common physical properties and produce similar environmental effects”. 

The report goes on to reveal that “wildlife that becomes coated with animal fats or vegetable oils could die of hypothermia, dehydration and diarrhea, or starvation.”

Are cooking or vegetable oils bad for the soil?

In large amounts, cooking and vegetable oils may lead to problems in both soil and compost. Oils may kill plants or even prevent more plants from growing in the future, depending on the type/quality of soil.

Is composting an option?

You should only consider composting cooking oils (in very small amounts) that are vegetable oil-based, i.e. olive oil, sunflower oil, corn oil etc. This is due to the way in which aerobic processes occur in composting, and how conventional cooking oils affect this. 

In general, however, a compost pile is not the best choice for an oil disposal.

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7 Responses

  1. Thanks for informing me that I should not pour cooking or vegetable oil down the drain because it will lead to blockages in my home and the main city sewage systems. I didn’t know about this before I read your article, which is alarming because I tend to pour used oil down the kitchen sink drain. Because of what you said, I’ll look for a used oil recycling service in the city to get our used oil from our home. Thanks!

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