Deep-frying food is fun and fried foods are yummy. But let’s face it, degraded frying oil is not easy to deal with. Not unless you live in a place where you can easily dispose it off in an environmentally safe manner. But how many of us live in such places?
Used up cooking oil is unlike other liquid waste. You cannot just pour it down the drain. It will clog the pipes or leave sticky residue inside. The residue later combines with food particles and other waste to clog the pipes. The end result is stinky mess that calls for a snake in the drain. Even worse, you might introduce problems into the entire sewer system of your residential area.
It is also not the kind of waste you pour in an open place. Unless you have little concern for the surroundings.
So, how do you dispose of cooking oil safely and properly after frying?
How to Dispose Cooking Oil after Frying
There are several ways in which you can dispose cooking oil. These depend on factors such as the type and amount. For example, there are ways in which you can safely dispose plant-based cooking oil but they are not recommended for cooking oil that contains animal fat.
Similarly, there are safe and easy ways for disposing small quantities of cooking oil that are not applicable when dealing with large quantities.
Disposing Small Amounts of Oil
Use Paper Towels
If you deep fry food and end up with a small amount of leftover oil, the easiest way to dispose is by soaking it up with paper towels.
- Firstly, remove the oil from heat and let it cool completely.
- Use several sheets of paper towel or tissue paper to soak the oil bit by bit.
- You can begin from one section of the pan and move gradually to the rest of the sections.
- Use one sheet at a time and dispose it in the trash after it saturates with oil completely.
Use Deep-Frying Oil to Light Fire
Small amounts of all can be useful for lighting fire.
- Remove the oil from heat and let it cool down completely.
- Store in a small bottle that has a tight top.
- Pour a few drops of the oil on paper sheets and use the papers to light fire.
Disposing of large Amounts of Oil
Large amount of deep frying oil or grease might be a bit difficult to clean. You cannot wipe it off with paper towel, and using it to light fire is not even an option.
So, what should you do?
Disposing of in Liquid Form
- Remove oil from heat and let it cool down completely. Avoid handling hot. It is dangerous and can easily cause serious burns.
- Drain the oil from the pan into a plastic bottle (sealable) or container with a tight lid. Ensure that the container/bottle is made of good quality material. Low quality plastics can break easily and create unnecessary mess through spillage.
- Throw the bottle /container into the bin with the rest of your kitchen waste. You can also place the bottle in a safe place if it is not full. Continue filling it with oil every time after deep-frying, and throw it away once it fills up.
Disposing of in Solid Form
If you do not have a proper bottle or container to dispose of cooking oil in liquid form, you can throw it away in solid state.
- Transfer completely cool oil into a thick polythene bag and tie a tight knot to prevent leakage. Store the bag in the freezer and wait until the garbage collection to throw it away with the rest of your kitchen wastes.
- Alternatively, mix the oil with solid matter such as flour and saw dust in a firm polythene and dispose into the garbage.
Take Used Oil to a Collection Facility
You might need to dispose a lot of oil on a daily basis if you operate a restaurant or fast food joint. In such a case, throwing it into the bin is not the best option. In fact, it is legally unacceptable in some places.
The best option is to consider engaging the services of an oil collection facility. The focus of such businesses is to recycle degraded oil and transform it into useful renewable products.
Can you Recycle Cooking Oil?
It is possible to recycle cooking oil at home and in waste recycle premises.
You can recycle oil at home by reusing it severally. In most cases, deep frying oil begins to change in color after several uses. The only way it can degrade faster is if food is left to burn in the process of deep-frying.
Therefore, it is important to let oil reach the appropriate temperature before frying foods. Timeliness is also critical when frying and removing food from the oil.
- To preserve oil for reusing, remove it from heat and let cool completely.
- As it cools down, food particles will settle at the bottom of the pan.
- Decant or gradually pour the oil into another container so that the food particles can be left at the bottom of the pan.
- Use a coffee filter or cheese cloth to filter food particles from the remaining oil.
- Transfer your oil into a sealable container and store in a cool dry place. However, you can keep it in the freezer if you intend to wait for a long time before reusing it.
Important note: Reuse oil to cook the same type of food. If not, it will transfer the flavor of the food you cooked the first time to other dishes.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I do with old used cooking oil?
You can reuse cooking oil for cooking if the quality is still good. However, you have to use it for the same kind of food that you originally cooked. For example, oil used to cook potato fries should be reused for the same purpose.
You can also use old oil for personal DIY projects. Examples include soap making and preparation of insecticides.
If you have old cooking oil in a small amount, you can use it to light fire. Just transfer it to a small container with a seal and add a few drops to paper sheets whenever you need to light fire.
Lastly, old cooking oil can be combined with other products to form biodiesel. Since this might be difficult to achieve at home, take it to collection center for recycling. You can also contact local restaurants to see if they can help you with the delivery.
If you do not intend to use old oil for any of these purposes, transfer it into a sealable container before throwing it in the bin together with the rest of your kitchen waste.
How do you dispose of used vegetable oil?
You can dispose used vegetable oil both in liquid and solid states. Transfer liquid oil into a container with a lid and throw it into the bin. Alternatively, store oil in the freezer so that it can solidify and throw into the bin. Mix oils that cannot solidify with sawdust or flour and throw into the bin.
Can you dump cooking oil in the yard?
No! You cannot dump cooking oil into the yard because it is not good for the environment. Transfer cooking oil in a container that cannot leak and throw it into the dustbin.
Can I pour cooking oil down the drain?
No! Do not poor cooking oil down the drain. It will clog pipes and cause blockage in the entire drainage system. In case this does not happen, it will cause buildup inside the pipes thereby increasing the chances for blockage in the future.
Should you reuse cooking oil?
Yes! You can reuse cooking oil so long as the quality is still good.
Is cooking oil hazardous waste?
Cooking oil is not hazardous waste. In fact it can be recycled to form biodiesel.
Is used vegetable oil toxic?
Used vegetable oil is not toxic. However, its quality degrades after cooking.