If you are a fan of scrumptious fried food, then you must love your cooking oil. I, for one, use cooking oil to make some of my most favorite dishes. However, the one thing that I don’t like about cooking oil is that it can be a mess to clean up. After all, how are you supposed to throw away the leftover oil?
How to Dispose of Cooking Oil
Here’s how you can dispose of cooking oil the right way:
The best way to dispose of cooking oil is to recycle it. Get in touch with your local trash pickup companies and inquire if they have a recycling program. Alternatively, you can use the helpful Earth911 recycling locator to find the collection location for recycled products nearest to you.
To prepare used cooking oil for recycling:
You can even put different kinds of cooking oils in one container for recycling, unless your collection site gives you specific instructions not to do that.
Throw It in the Trash
Put the Oil in a Container and Throw It in the Trash
The best route that you can take for cooking oil disposal is to throw it in the trash. However, make sure to follow the steps mentioned below to ensure proper disposal of oil:
1. Cool the Cooking Oil
Before you can dispose of your used cooking oil, you need to make sure that it’s cool. You don’t want to accidentally burn yourself by scorching hot oil, so let it sit for a while till it completely cools down. Depending on the quantity of oil you have to dispose of, you might even need to wait for a few hours before you can get rid of it. If the quantity of oil is exceptionally large, then you can even let it sit overnight so that it can come to room temperature.
2. Pour the Oil in a Plastic Container
Use a clean plastic container with a sturdy lid or screw-on top. A peanut butter jar is a great choice for storing your cooking oil. Carefully pour the used cooking oil into the container and screw the lid on as tightly as possible.
Pro Tip: If you plan on reusing the oil later, make sure that the container is clean. Additionally, try to stick to a plastic container instead of a glass one, as a glass container can break easily.
3. Toss the Container in the Trash
Once the container is properly sealed, you can throw it in the trash can. Avoid pouring the oil directly into the can as it will make a mess and also draw rodents into your home.
Freeze the Oil and then Throw It in the Trash
Alternatively, if you don’t have a plastic container with a lid lying around, you can freeze your oil in a mug or empty soda can for a few hours. Once the oil has hardened, you need to use a spoon to scoop out the oil and put it into the trash can. After disposing of the oil, make sure that you wash the mug clean with water and soap.
Pour the Cooled Oil into a Plastic Trash Bag
To throw away your cooking oil, take a plastic bag that already has some absorbent waste material such as paper towels, cat litter, used flour, sawdust, etc. Pour the cooled oil directly into the bag and make sure that the trash soaks it all up before disposing of it. This way, you are ensuring that the oil doesn’t leak through the garbage or spills all over the trash. Tie the plastic bag and throw it in your trash.
Can You Dump Cooking Oil in the Yard?
Don’t dump your cooking oil in the yard. If you tip cooking oil on the ground, it will ultimately find its way into the sewer system, cause unnecessary blockages, and clog the system. Additionally, according to the EPA, if cooking oil is not properly disposed of, then it can cause harm to animals and plants.
Is Cooking Oil Biodegradable?
Vegetable oils such as olive, sunflower, etc., can be considered biodegradable cooking oils if they are mixed in compost in very small quantities. If the quantity is too much, it will slow down the biodegrading process. Otherwise, synthetic cooking oils tend to coat organic materials and create a water-resistant barrier. This reduces the airflow and slows down the composting process, which is why you should not put them in your compost pile. Doing so will cause food to rot, which will invite rodents into your home.
Can Cooking Oil Be Reused?
Reusing cooking oil is a great way to minimize your overall waste production and save money. However, before you reuse cooking oil, just make sure that it doesn’t smell. Here are some clear signs that your cooking oil has gone bad:
Pro Tip: If the cooking oil you want to reuse is more than 6 weeks old, just throw it out instead of reusing it.
Additionally, if you plan on reusing cooking oil, choose a cooking oil that has a high smoke point. When oil reaches its smoke point, it starts to break down, which renders it unusable. So, try to use vegetable, canola, or peanut oil as these oils have a high smoke point.
How to Reuse Cooking Oil
Here’s how you can reuse cooking oil:
- Store the used oil at room temperature in a sealed container.
- Use a coffee filter to filter the oil before reusing it. This will filter out any solid food particles that can make the oil rancid.
- Reuse the oil to fry the same food you fried in it last time.
- Make sure that you don’t use the oil to fry things more than twice. This is because reusing it more than that will reduce its smoke point, which means it will burn easily and go bad quickly.
The Bottom Line
We hope you enjoyed this guide on how to dispose of cooking oil. Use the ways mentioned above to responsibly get rid of cooking oil. If you plan on reusing cooking oil, make sure it has a high smoke point and that you reuse it just once or twice before discarding it.