How To Dispose Of Cooking Grease Correctly

funnel cake oil needs proper disposal

Grease and oil are inescapable products of cooking, frying, and even baking. Pouring the liquid oils or scraping remnants of shortening into the kitchen sink may seem like the best and easiest way to deal with the smelly, slippery oils but this should be avoided. Drains plagued with oils and grease will clog over time, even if you only pour a few drops into the sink. Fortunately, there are safe and simple ways you can learn how to dispose of cooking grease without causing an expensive plumbing disaster.

Safe Ways To Dispose Of Grease

Not every kitchen is managed the same way. For this reason, there are a few options listed below to choose between on how to dispose of cooking grease safely.

Throw it in the trash

The overarching rule of thumb when it comes to grease and oil disposal is don’t pour it down a drain. Toilets, sinks, and floor drains are all off-limits as gluey oils and animal fats will destroy your plumbing. Instead, turn to your garbage can. 

Avoid clogged drains when you know how to dispose of cooking grease correctly
Image source: Danika Plumbing LLC

Cooled, solidified oil can be thrown in the trash once it is placed into a sealed container. You can use glass jars, waxy containers like milk cartons, and styrofoam boxes to contain any potential leaks. 

A rather easy way to accomplish this is by lining a bowl with parchment paper before pouring in used grease. Once it cools, lift it out by the parchment and seal it into a bag. This option allows for fewer sacrificed containers and greater convenience, depending on what your preference is.

A bottle of used cooking grease can be re-used even from these delicious fried burgers and broccolini
Image source: Wikihow.com

Reuse your cooking oil and grease

Cooking oils and fats can be reused if stored properly. Allow grease to cool and harden like you would when disposing of it. Store in an air-tight container and be sure to take a few sniffs before each use. You don’t want to risk the possibility of using stinky oil. Used oils and fats only last so long before going rancid. If a sniff test isn’t telling you much, rub a bit between your fingers

Good grease will be smooth. 

Bad will be tacky and sticky.

Recycle your cooking oil 

Waste disposal companies in your area may take used cooking oil and use it to create biofuels. At your convenience, drop off your oil at the recycling site. This is also an option at a participating restaurant near you. Many restaurants participate in these oil recycling programs. If you want to take this route, be sure to purify your oil by straining out food bits with coffee filters or cheesecloth.

If you’re in the DFW area, Dar Pro Solutions is an example of a company that transforms grease and fats into biofuels. Give your trash company in Dallas a break! Make sure your used cooking oil gets put to good use and drop it off at a recycling center.

tanker truck for used cooking grease

Use absorbent waste to soak it up

Mixing oil and grease with absorbent waste is another safe disposal option. Doing this turns the fatty grease into a piece of solid waste, able to be thrown away like other solid household trash. These are some materials you can use to absorb grease and oil:

  • Flour
  • Cat litter
  • Sawdust
  • Sand

Compost the leftover cooking grease

Sprinkle vegetable oils into a compost bin but only in small amounts. Too much oil will ‘clog’ the soil much like a drain, preventing it from its natural breathing and absorption capabilities. Animal fats cannot be used in this way because the rancid smell will attract animals, which you likely won’t want.

“When In Doubt, Throw It Out”

Small remnants of oil and grease, like the sheen of fat left in a pan after cooking, will still give your plumbing troubles over time. You’ll notice that water drains slower and slower until it stops draining at all.

Then plumbers need to pay a visit. 

Due to the risk of clogging your drain, taking a few moments to scrape out small amounts of solidified grease into the trash or wiping the excess with an absorbent paper towel can save you from any ticking time bombs brewing in your plumbing. 

If you do use paper towels, be sure to dispose of them in the garbage and not in the recycling bin, as recycling facilities cannot process greasy materials.

Other disposal methods to avoid

When you think you’ve seen everything, someone pops up and does something crazy. While there are only a few ways how to safely dispose of cooking grease there are probably infinite ways that you SHOULDN’t dispose of cooking grease.

Do not toss oils outside

Opening the back door and flinging a pan of hot oil may seem like a decent way to get rid of cooking grease to some people. The rationale is that it should just filter away through the ground but this isn’t the case. 

Oil and grease will filter down, but this will in time become harmful for sewage and plumbing systems, potentially affecting your whole neighborhood. Avoid throwing your used cooking oil anywhere outside but the trash. Having said that…

Avoid pouring hot liquid oil into the trash

As common sense dictates, thin garbage bags and high heat won’t fare well together. Pouring hot grease right from a pan into your trash will create a gooey mess. This will only worsen when it comes time to lift out the damaged bag. On top of that, bags filled with grease will cause issues when your waste management company begins processing garbage.

Final thoughts

It doesn’t take much effort when you know how to dispose of cooking grease correctly. Save yourself the inevitable clogged drains and take an extra few steps to ensure your keeping our earth as clean as possible. 

If you don’t do it-who will?!

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