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3 Ways to Discard Used Cooking Oil

3 Ways to Discard Used Cooking Oil

You probably know that cooking oil doesn’t belong in the drain. Even the little amounts of oil that ends up in the sink after washing an oily dish can lead to problems. Eventually, built-up oil can clog the pipes, leading to possibly unsafe conditions and a costly fix. Composting oil isn’t the best idea either, because it can throw off the moisture and attract pests.

But what do you do with it? Luckily, there are several options out there:

1. Reuse It. As long as the oil isn’t rancid, you can certainly reuse it a few times. After the oil cools, use a fat skimmer to discard any food bits floating in it. Strain it through a fine-meshed sieve or a coffee filter into a lidded container, cover, and store in a cool, dry place. Reuse as long as the oil doesn’t smell rancid or looks foamy.
2. Recycle It. Many municipalities offer free cooking oil recycling programs.
3. Toss It. Some things just can’t be recycled. If all else fails, the absolute best way to get rid of oil is to let it cool, pour it in a sealable container, and throw it in the trash.

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Read more: Basics, Eco-friendly tips, Food, Green, Green Kitchen Tips, Health & Safety, Home, Reduce, Recycle & Reuse, Surprising uses for ..., Transportation, , , , ,

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Katie Waldeck

Katie is a freelance writer focused on pets, food and women’s issues. A Chicago native and longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Katie now lives in Oakland, California.


+ add your own
8:59PM PDT on May 24, 2015

Agreed, Edith B, a good idea. Some good tips in the article.

8:49PM PDT on May 24, 2015

I reuse cooking oil once, if it has not been used for fish, after cooling and straining. After that use, I put it in a sealed container and toss it. We have no centers for recycling oil here. I wish we did.

7:30AM PST on Nov 11, 2014

thanks for sharing :)

7:12AM PST on Nov 3, 2014

I didn't know there were cooking oil recycling programs!! I will look into that. Thanks!

9:30AM PDT on Jul 4, 2014

It is research time for making soap from vegetable oil. I sure hope it's easy to do.

10:24AM PDT on Apr 6, 2014

Live long & prosper!

8:27PM PDT on Mar 9, 2014


10:49PM PST on Mar 3, 2014

I put what little I use in a sealed container and put in my wet trash

10:02PM PST on Mar 2, 2014

Thank You

1:37AM PST on Feb 28, 2014

I live in Spain, and traditionally many people recycles cooking oil by making soap out of it. The recipe is very simple - used cooking oil, caustic soda, and water (you can also add essential oils). The soap made this way is good and safe both for personal as for domestic hygiene. In other words, you can wash your hands, face, dog, clothes, floors, whatever.
I have often made soap this way, and the only con is the danger of caustic soda prior mixing with the water and oil. You need to wear protection on hands and face, keep children and pets away, and make the mixing outside whenever possible.
Very recently - actually, last week - I heard about a new device that makes all the process automatically. Basically, it's like a bread machine which makes soap instead: you put the three ingredients, close the lid, and the machine makes the soap without the hazard of touching the soda. It's still being worked on, but if it finally gets to the market, and it's affordable, I'll get one for sure.

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