Do you dispose of leftover cooking oil down the drain? If that's the case, it's high time you kicked that filthy old routine. Pouring used oil down the drain could cause plumbing problems and endanger the environment.
When combined with other compounds, leftover oils can potentially release harmful chemicals into the ground and air. With all the ongoing calamities and catastrophes, it's time to be mindful of our habits. It's bad enough that our landfills overflow with solid waste and other waste products. Let us not aggravate the situation by adding to it.
The following recommendations may help avoid costly plumbing repairs while saving the environment. But before we get into that, let's talk about the problems that may arise when oil is disposed of improperly.
The Harmful Consequences Of Dumping Leftover Cooking Oil Down The Drain
Whether your cooking oil is corn, safflower, canola, peanut, soybean, sunflower, or vegetable, it makes no difference. They are still oils, so don't dump them down the drain.
Throwing frying oil down the drain can have these nasty consequences.
- Discarding leftover oil down the drain, especially if done repeatedly, causes blockages. Even though it was hot when you dumped it, it will ultimately solidify, causing obstructions. Clogs can get so terrible that your pipes burst, causing inconvenience and costing you a lot of money to repair.
- The viscosity of used cooking oil can cause it to gather grease and grime, further clogging your pipes. Even with hot water, oil does not easily wash away. Consequently, it can cling to pipelines and collect dirt.
- Pouring used cooking oil down the drain can significantly impact our environment. While it is not considered toxic, it can be hazardous when combined with other substances. As it travels through the sewer system, the oil can mix with other chemicals and pollutants. That can be disastrous when sewers overflow, as it can contaminate our waterways.
Health Risks Associated With Pouring Used Cooking Oil Down The Drain.
The water we flush down the drain eventually ends up in a water treatment facility where it is cleaned and made safe to drink. So, if the dirty sewers overflow and get into our waterways, it could contaminate our drinking water. [Source]
Furthermore, exposure to toxic substances generated during the disposal of spent cooking oil can result in various health issues. Short-term exposure might irritate the skin, eyes, and respiratory system. Long-term exposure can make you more likely to get serious health problems like cancer, birth defects, miscarriages, low birth weight, developmental disorders, neurological disorders, etc.
That's why it's critical to understand the risks involved with spent cooking oil disposal.
The 4 No-No's of Throwing Away Used Cooking Oil
Keep these points in mind before we go on to the appropriate methods for disposing of cooking oil.
- Don't pour it down the sink.
- Don't spill it in the yard. Leftover oil poured out into the yard will attract animals and bugs.
- Don't pour it down the storm drain. Like residential drains, they are not designed for oil disposal. It's also harmful to the water system.
- Don't freeze and discard. Some people believe throwing frozen oil in the garbage is safe, but it is not. Because oil reverts to liquid at room temperature, freezing is not an option.
However, freezing oil is a suitable method of storing cooking oil. Learn more about the different ways of solidifying oil in this article.
4 Safe Ways to Dispose of Used Cooking Oil
You might think your drain can handle anything you throw down, but it can't. It may not show any damage right away, but it will soon. Even though pipes naturally wear down or even corrode over time, clogs will speed up the process. While it's not the primary factor, it's still advisable to avoid it.
The following is a list of acceptable methods for disposing of used cooking oil.
1. Recycle and Repurpose
With the rising cost of cooking oil, you wouldn't want to toss it out after only one use. If you haven't already, straining cooled leftover cooking oil through a filter or sieve is an easy way to clean and preserve it. After that, you can refrigerate it in a clean, sealed container for future use.
Never keep used oil at room temperature, as it will spoil quickly. On the other hand, properly stored, refrigerated cooking oil can last 30 days.
Oil can be recycled two to three times. Different oils, however, degrade at varying rates. Following the cycle may not reveal whether the oil is still safe to use. It is recommended that you double-check it before using it.
Here's what to look for to see if the oil has gone stale and should be discarded.
If you see charcoal dust sediments at the bottom, it is no longer safe to reuse. However, this sediment is only visible when the oil is at room temperature. So you'll have to thaw it out before you can inspect it.
- Gelatinous substances
If gooey components can be seen at the bottom of properly strained, refrigerated oil, it can no longer be used. This gelatin-like substance is most noticeable in cooled oil used to cook animal protein.
- Unusual odor
If the used oil smells even slightly odd, don't reuse it. Remember that oil can absorb flavors, so don't fry potato fritters in yesterday's fish fry oil.
2. Mix In Absorbents
Another option is to combine it with other absorbent materials. Sawdust, sand, cat litter, and old garments can soak up oil. That serves as a layer of padding for the oil, reducing the chance of leaks.
You just have to ensure that the amount of oil you throw away is the same as the volume of materials that can soak it up.
3. Take Them To Recycling Centers.
Some recycling centers accept cooking oil and treat it for conversion into biodiesel. It is a renewable fuel derived from leftover cooking oil. You can do it at home if you enjoy trying new things and have the right tools.
You may contact the local sanitation or water department if you can't locate credible information on your county's recycling website.
4. Use An Oil Solidifying Powder
You won’t believe it, but this is possibly the easiest, safest, and most economical way of disposing of used cooking oil.
With a few sprinkles added to your still-hot leftover frying oil and a small swirl until it dissolves, you will see that the mixture solidifies. Then you can toss it into the garbage. It's that simple!
No mess and time-consuming procedures. Most of all, no need for extra containers that could have been recycled. Using this oil solidifying powder, you'll never have to worry about damaging your pipes or the environment.
The Key to Proper Oil Disposal
Proper disposal of spent cooking oil is critical to preventing environmental degradation. The suggestions in this post can help you maintain your pipes and city clean while reducing the harmful toxins emitted into the air and water.
However, to help keep our planet clean, choose the green, eco-friendly method of disposing of waste cooking oil.
FryAway is a non-toxic, plant-based powder that solidifies leftover frying oil for efficient and environmentally responsible kitchen waste disposal. It is composed solely of plant chemicals, making it ideal for recycling solidified oil.
In a nutshell, oil that has been solidified by FryAway can be reused to make biofuel, candles, or soaps. It can even go in your compost containers.