Cooking Oil Recycling
High-quality cooking oils are the cornerstone of every successful home cooked meal and are great at adding aromatic flavors, rich textures and healthy nutrients to your dishes. While all-natural oils bring out the best in your culinary creations, they do not have the same positive effect on your drain. To make sure you are participating in the right practices for cooking oil waste, here is everything you need to know about used cooking oil recycling.
Can Cooking Oil Be Recycled?
While it is second nature to recycle papers and plastic products, we do not necessarily consider whether we can safely reuse or recycle something else we consistently use in the kitchen — cooking oil. When you are finished frying or sautéing tonight's meal, you might be tempted to pour leftover cooking oil and grease down the drain, but doing so can be dangerous for your piping. Cooking oils will eventually solidify in your water pipes, causing them to clog and potentially cause damage both to your water line and the local sewage system. To be more considerate of your piping and your environment, consider recycling your used cooking oil — yes, it is possible. While once considered a useless waste product, cooking oil waste has become a commodity that is useful for multiple purposes. When recycled, filtered and repurposed, used cooking oil can be incorporated into biofuels, home heating oil, stock feed and even cosmetics. Biodiesel fuels created with recycled cooking oil are even better than traditional fuel types — not only do they burn clean and contain a low carbon content, but they also do not emit carbon monoxide when burned, meaning used cooking oil recycling can reduce your carbon footprint.
How to recycle cooking oil?You have a few options for recycling your cooking oil, and they all start with saving your used cooking oil. When you are cooking with oils, remove your meal from the pot or pan and let it cool completely before attempting to pour your extra used oil out. When the oil has cooled, pour the runoff through a strainer to remove food particles and into a sturdy plastic or glass container with a re-sealable lid — used and cleaned peanut butter jars, ball jars, coffee grinds containers and sauce jars are good choices. Continue to store your strained, used oil in the same container until full and recycle it in one of two ways:
- Third-Party Recycling: Many cities and areas have special facilities, programs and designated drop-off sites dedicated to collecting and reusing used cooking oil. Check your local public works department or look online to see if any third-party businesses or organizations will accept your supplies of used cooking oil. Not only will you do the environment a favor, but the organizations are sure to be grateful, as well.
- More Cooking: If you cannot find a nearby facility that recycles used cooking oil, recycle it yourself. Pour your cooking oil through a strainer or coffee filter and use the supply from your container for future cooking endeavors. Remember, the smoke point of your oil will decrease each time you re-use it, so you will not be able to recycle forever, but you can get more than one use out of it. Make sure your oil does not smell rancid before using it again.