Just ahead of the high season of deep-fried cookery, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection is urging residents to kindly refrain from dumping used cooking grease — and all delightful forms of FOG (liquefied fat, oil, and grease), for that matter — directly down the kitchen sink drain.
While the city’s aging sewer system isn’t famously fatberg-ridden a la London, the DEP’s new “Cease the Grease” pilot outreach initiative aims to prevent costly, gnarly blockages by educating folks on how to properly dispose of used cooking grease after frying up a feast of latkes, poppers, fritters, stuffing-on-a-stick, plus-sized Butterballs, and a plate of hangover-nourishing breakfast bacon. (This year’s rare intersection of Thanksgiving and Hannukah promises to be real oily).
The DEP’s suggested method of disposal is this: allow the grease to cool and solidify before placing into a non-recyclable sealed container and discarding it with the rest of your household trash. As bacon addicts and backyard bird lovers are well aware, there are also numerous, thrift-minded ways to reuse cooking grease in the kitchen instead of tossing it.
“The grease problems will cause backages, backups in the sewers that will cause blockages. That can impact the way the sewer works. In worst case conditions, it can sometimes lead to backups in homes,” DEP deputy commissioner Jim Roberts explains to NY1. “We’ve spent several million dollars a year on what we call degreasing. To give you some frame of reference, it costs about $20 a gallon for the degreasing agent that we use, and we use sometimes as much as 20 or 30 gallons.”
Good lord, that’s a whole lot of degreaser!
And this is interesting: The campaign is launching in Queens, which has the dubious distinction of being the borough with the highest number of grease-related sewer blockages.
Have any tips and tidbits for disposing of or reusing used cooking grease around the holidays that you’d care to share? Party favors? Hasbrowns? Dog hair conditioner? And have you ever had the misfortune of experiencing a grease-related blockage in your home?