Get Rid of Used Cooking Oil: Simple and Effective Tips

As we cook, we inevitably end up with used cooking oil, which we then need to dispose of. Unfortunately, pouring it down the drain is not a good option, as it can clog pipes and harm the environment. On the bright side, there are simple and effective tips on how to get rid of used cooking oil without causing damage. From reusing the oil to recycling it, there are various methods you can use. Keep reading to learn more.

Get Rid of Used Cooking Oil: Simple and Effective Tips | Eat Urban Garden
Get Rid of Used Cooking Oil: Simple and Effective Tips

Why is it Important to Dispose of Used Cooking Oil Properly?

Improper disposal of used cooking oil can have negative impacts on both the environment and your home. If you pour cooking oil down the sink, it can clog pipes and damage your plumbing. The oil can also attract pests like rats, mice, and cockroaches. These pests are not only unpleasant to deal with, but they can also carry disease and cause damage to your home or business.

Environmental Impact

Improper disposal of used cooking oil can also have a significant impact on the environment. When oil is poured down the drain, it can combine with other substances and create blockages in wastewater treatment facilities. This can cause raw sewage to overflow into rivers and lakes, polluting the ecosystem. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), fats, oils, and grease (FOG) cause 50 to 75 percent of sewer backups.

In addition, used cooking oil is not biodegradable and can remain in the environment for a long time. When it is improperly disposed of, it can harm aquatic life, plants, and soil. For instance, a study conducted by the University of California demonstrated that fats and oils in sewage can harm the microorganisms in soil, leading to poor plant growth and degraded soil quality.

Safe Ways to Dispose of Cooking Oil

  • Reuse cooking oil for future cooking: If you have some leftover oil that is still in good condition, you can store it in a clean jar or container and reuse it for future cooking.
  • Donate cooking oil to local facilities: Some local biofuel facilities, animal shelters, and farms accept used cooking oil for recycling purposes. Contact these facilities to learn the protocols for dropping off your used oil.
  • Pour used cooking oil into a sealable container: Once it has cooled down, pour the oil into a sealable container and label it “used cooking oil.” Place the container in the trash bin and make sure that it is not leaking.
  • Use a cooking oil recycling service: Some companies provide cooking oil recycling services for households and businesses. They will collect your used oil and convert it into biodiesel.

What are the Different Ways to Dispose of Used Cooking Oil?

Whether you’re frying chicken, sautéing vegetables, or cooking up some bacon to top your burger with, almost every recipe requires adding some kind of cooking oil to the pan. However, when you’re finished with the oil, it can be tricky to know what to do with it. Below, we’ve outlined some of the best and most sustainable ways to dispose of used cooking oil.

Recycling Programs

If you’re not sure what to do with your used cooking oil and live in a big city, recycling might be the perfect solution. Recycling centers often offer cooking oil recycling programs, which will take your oil and turn it into something else. Some recycling programs will also come to your home and pick up the oil for you, saving you a trip to the dump or recycling center.


If you’re an avid gardener, you might already have a compost bin set up in your backyard. Adding used cooking oil to your compost bin can help stimulate the growth of good bacteria, making your soil rich and fertile. However, if you’re going to do this, make sure you only add a couple of tablespoons to your compost bin each week. Any more than that can cause your compost to turn rancid and start smelling terrible.

Using Absorbent Materials

If you don’t want to bother with recycling or composting, there are other ways to get rid of used cooking oil. One option is to use absorbent materials like old newspapers, paper towels, or kitty litter. These items will soak up the oil and make it less messy to dispose of. However, make sure you dispose of the materials accordingly – for example, don’t throw oily newspapers in with your regular recycling.

Storing for Later Use

If you’re planning on frying or cooking with the same oil in the near future, you might be able to save it for later use. All you need to do is strain it through a fine-mesh strainer to get rid of any bits of food that might be floating around in the oil. Then, pour it into a jar or container with a tight-fitting lid and store it in a cool, dark place until you’re ready to use it again.

How Can I Recycle Used Cooking Oil?

After cooking a meal, you may wonder how to dispose of the used cooking oil. Instead of throwing it away in the trash, consider recycling it. Here are some simple and effective tips on how to recycle used cooking oil:

1. Look for Local Recycling Programs

Many cities and towns have recycling programs that accept used cooking oil. They turn the oil into biodiesel, a renewable energy source. Contact your local Department of Public Works or check their website to find out if they have a program.

2. Find a Company that Collects and Recycles Cooking Oil

If your town does not have a recycling program, you can search online for a company that specializes in collecting and recycling cooking oil. They will come to your home or business and take the used oil off your hands. Some companies even pay for the oil, which is then turned into biofuel.

3. Donate to a Local Farmer

If you know any local farmers or have a community garden, donate your used cooking oil to them. They can use the oil to make biodiesel to power their tractors and other farm equipment. This reduces their dependency on fossil fuels and helps the environment.

Now that you know how to recycle used cooking oil, you can do your part in reducing waste and helping the environment. Whether you find a local recycling program or donate to a farmer, every little bit counts.

Can I Use Used Cooking Oil Again?

Yes, some types of oil can be filtered and reused. However, this should only be done if the oil has not been contaminated and has not exceeded its smoke point.

Types of Oil That Can Be Reused

Some types of oil are better suited for reuse than others. For example, oils with high smoke points, such as peanut oil, can be filtered and reused multiple times without significant degradation in quality. On the other hand, oils with low smoke points, such as flaxseed oil, should not be reused.

How to Filter and Store Used Cooking Oil

If you decide to reuse your cooking oil, it is important to filter it properly and store it in an appropriate container. Here are some tips:

  • Allow the oil to cool completely before filtering it to avoid the risk of burns or fires.
  • Use a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth to remove any food particles or debris from the oil.
  • Store the filtered oil in an airtight container in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight and heat sources.

How Many Times Can I Reuse Cooking Oil?

The number of times you can reuse cooking oil depends on several factors, including the type of oil, the cooking temperature, and the presence of contaminants. As a general rule, if the oil smells rancid, has a dark color, or develops a thick, sticky consistency, it is time to discard it.

What Can I Do if I Can’t Find a Recycling Program Near Me?

If you are unable to locate a recycling program near your area, don’t worry. You can still take appropriate measures to dispose of your used cooking oil properly. Here are a few tips to consider:

Sealed container

After the oil has cooled down, pour it into a sealed container such as a used milk carton, an empty glass jar, or a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. Make sure the container is not recyclable and is sturdy enough to hold the hot oil without leaking. Label the container clearly with the word “cooking oil” to prevent confusion.

Dispose of in trash

After sealing the container, dispose of it in the trash bin or a landfill. Make sure the container is fully closed and won’t spill or leak inside the garbage bag. Avoid dumping the oil down the drain or toilet, as this can cause blockages and environmental damage.

Contact local recycling center

You can also contact your local recycling center or household hazardous waste program for guidance. They might have advice on where to dispose of cooking oil safely or whether they accept it for recycling in your area. You can find the contact details online or in the phone book.

Check with a local animal shelter or farm

Another option is to check with a local animal shelter or farm if they accept used cooking oil. Some animal shelters use it as a way to treat skin conditions in animals, while farmers might use it for animal feed. Make sure to call in advance before dropping off the oil.

Reuse the oil

If your used cooking oil is still clean and free of food particles, you can reuse it a few times for frying or cooking. However, make sure to strain it and store it in a clean and sealed container in a cool and dark place away from sunlight and heat.

How Can I Prevent the Need to Dispose of Used Cooking Oil?

Disposing of used cooking oil can be a hassle, but there are several ways to prevent the need to dispose of oil so frequently. Here are some tips to try:

Reduce the Amount of Oil You Use

One of the easiest ways to prevent the need for disposing of used cooking oil is to use less of it in the first place. Instead of pouring oil directly from the bottle, measure out the amount you need using a measuring spoon or cup. You could also consider swapping out oil for nonstick cooking spray to reduce the amount you need. Not only will you reduce the amount of oil you use, but you’ll also make your meals healthier.

Reuse Leftover Oil

If you do end up with leftover oil after cooking, don’t automatically dispose of it. Depending on the type of oil and how it was used, you may be able to reuse it for future meals. For example, after frying, let the oil cool and then strain out any bits of food. You can then store the oil in an airtight container and reuse it within a few days. However, if the oil looks or smells off, it’s better to err on the side of caution and dispose of it.

Try Different Cooking Methods

Certain cooking methods require less oil than others, so consider branching out from your usual go-to. Baking, grilling, and roasting are all options that require little to no oil. Stir-frying, on the other hand, can require quite a bit of oil, so try to limit how often you use this cooking method. By experimenting with different cooking methods, you may find new favorites that don’t require as much oil.

Remember that even if you take steps to prevent the need for disposing of used cooking oil, you’ll still need to dispose of it eventually. When that time comes, make sure to do it safely and responsibly according to your local waste disposal guidelines.

Thanks for Checking Out Our Tips!

We hope these simple and effective tips have helped you get rid of your used cooking oil safely and responsibly. Remember to never pour used oil down the drain, and instead, use one of these handy methods for disposal. By taking care of your used cooking oil properly, you are not only protecting your home plumbing, but also the environment. Thanks for reading and visit again later for more useful articles!

Get Rid of Used Cooking Oil: Simple and Effective Tips

Learn simple and effective tips for getting rid of used cooking oil safely and responsibly. Avoid pouring oil down the drain and protect your home plumbing and the environment.

  • 1 gallon used cooking oil
  • 1 sealable container
  • 1 disposable container
  • 1 trash bag
  • 1 designated oil recycling drop-off location
  • 1 oil recycling kit (optional)
  • 1 paper towel
  1. Always allow used cooking oil to cool completely. Hot oil can cause painful burns and should not be handled.
  2. Use a funnel to pour used oil into a sealable container, such as a plastic bottle or jar with a lid. Make sure the container is large enough to hold all the oil and has a tight-fitting lid.
  3. If you only have a small amount of used oil, you can dispose of it in a disposable container and throw it in the trash. Wrap the container in a paper towel to prevent leaks.
  4. Many cities offer designated oil recycling drop-off locations. Check with your local waste management facility to find the nearest location. Use a larger, sealable container for recycling and transport it to the location in a trash bag.
  5. Some companies offer oil recycling kits, which include an empty container and prepaid shipping materials. Check with your local waste management facility or search online for available options.
cooking oil, used cooking oil, disposal, recycling, tips

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