As much as I enjoy cooking for myself and my family, the clean up process can be a bit of a hassle. Among the worst is having to figure out how to dispose of used cooking oil or grease. Part of the reason why this is so difficult is because most people don’t know how to dispose of cooking oil besides throwing it out or dumping it down the sink. That’s why I’m here to help!
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Different Types of Cooking Oil
There is such a wide variety of oils that are great for cooking and baking that it is helpful to first familiarize yourself with some of the different types of cooking oil. Among the more common cooking oils are extra-virgin olive oil, vegetable oils (like Canola), coconut oil, and peanut oil. Additionally, avocado oil and sesame oil are also great alternatives for cooking. Most people switch off between different oils for health reasons or for their distinct tastes.
Each of these can be used in a variety of ways and serve different purposes at varying temperatures. Below I’ve listed the preferred ways of cooking with these different types of oils as well as their recorded smoke points:
- Canola Oil and Vegetable Oil: great for sauteing, roasting, and stir-frying (400 ℉)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: sauteing on very low temperatures but best for salads (370 ℉)
- Light Olive Oil: sauteing, roasting, and grilling (470 ℉)
- Refined / Virgin Avocado Oil: perfect for grilling, baking, sauteing, searing, frying, and roasting (480 – 520 ℉)
- Refined Coconut Oil: roasting and sauteing (450 ℉)
- Virgin Coconut Oil: sauteing at low temperatures (350 ℉)
- Refined Peanut Oil: frying and stir-frying (450 ℉)
- Virgin Peanut Oil: Used as added flavor in dips or dressings
- Sesame Oil: stir-frying, sauteing (350-400 ℉) and used as a condiment
How Do You Dispose of Cooking Oil at Home?
Once you’ve finished cooking with either of these oils, there are just a few steps you should take to make sure you are disposing of cooking oil correctly. This is incredibly important because incorrectly disposing of hot oils can cause a number of problems for your sink and toilet drains and can be hazardous to just throw away. So, after cooking with one of these oils, what should you do? Here are some dos and don’t regarding the best way to dispose of cooking oils at home!
- Try to reuse/recycle the oil – most oils can be reused if they have not been heated past their smoke points that I previously mentioned
- Let the oil cool – make sure the oil has a chance to cool into a more solid substance
- Pour into container – make sure the container is disposable; for extra precaution you can put this container into a plastic bag as well
- Throw the container into the garbage – this can be thrown in with your everyday trash; make sure it is completely sealed
- Pour hot oil down the sink or toilet – the hot oil or grease can coat and stick to your pipes and clog them once the liquid solidifies
- Pour hot oil directly into the garbage – hot oil can also cause problems with garbage trucks and solid waste
- Pour hot oil outside – hot oil can seep into the ground and cause problems for wildlife as well as make its way into the sewage systems
- Mix oil with compost – too much added oil can cause an imbalance within your compost and ruin it as a fertilizer
Is Dumping Cooking Oil Illegal?
Due to the severe environmental risks that it can cause, it is actually illegal for restaurants and other food services to improperly dump their used fryer oil and grease. Because of the way that grease and hot oil have the tendency to harden and clog drains and sewers, the environmental risks are great. Generally, local sewage plants and waste management are unable to process the large amounts of cooking oil that is discarded by such establishments.
All this to say, although it is not illegal for someone to incorrectly dump cooking oil at home, the negative impacts that it has on the environment are not to be taken lightly. Problems with air and water pollution and fire hazards are a perfect reason to make sure you are disposing of your used cooking oil in the correct way.
What is a Cooking Oil Disposal Container?
A cooking oil disposal container can really be any household item that you can pour the cooled kitchen grease into and seal it for disposal. When looking for a disposable container to store and throw away your used cooking oil you can get pretty creative. Old plastic butter containers and metal coffee cans are great for those who wish to freeze or refrigerate the oil before throwing it away. You can also use empty milk cartons or other old glass jars to ensure that the oil is securely sealed within the container.
How to Dispose of Cooking Oil
Despite all this, there are times when you look around your kitchen and can’t find an available container for disposing your cooking oil. I’ve experienced this myself and just feel that it’s better to always be prepared for quick and easy oil disposal. Here are some containers specifically made for the proper disposal of cooking oil:
1. Grease Daddy
Grease Daddy’s 12 ounce bags come in a pack of 6. They are each made of heat resistant packaging and come with a simple press seal. With these bags you can pour used cooking oil and grease directly from your frying pan instead of dumping it down your drain and ruining your pipes.
- Pros: Heat resistant, Comes With 6 Bags, Zipper Seal, Disposable
- Cons: Small Bags, Oil Cannot be Recycled
Made of 304 stainless steel with a dust proof cover and fine mesh filter, this bacon grease container can hold up to 1.7 liters of used cooking oil. The fine mesh strainer removes leftover pieces of food or bacon for easy recycling and the curved spout at the top makes for drip-proof, smooth pouring when transferring the grease. This model is also dishwasher safe with a non-stick exterior coating.
- Pros: Heat Resistant, Fine Mesh Strainer, Multi-Purpose
- Cons: Not Disposable
This bacon grease holder is a 1.3 liter stainless steel container with a strainer to catch the scraps of food for those who wish to reuse their cooking oil. This package also includes two silicone oven mitts as well as a silicone protective mat to rest the disposal container on. Although the container is mainly for storing and disposing of cooking oil, it can also serve a variety of purposes in the kitchen and is easily cleaned.
- Pros: Heat Resistant, Strainer, Comes With Silicone Oven Mitts and Hot Pad, Multi-Purpose
- Cons: Not Disposable, No Spout
Each of these products are great for temporarily storing and disposing of your used cooking oil and grease. Not only can properly disposing of your kitchen waste help the environment, but it can also save you a great deal of money and stress when it comes to your plumbing. I hope you find these tips for how to dispose of cooking oil and products helpful!