Don’t Toss Your Grease!

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?


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article by Matt Hickman


Christine J.
Christine J1 years ago

Reuse, reuse, reuse. If kept in the fridge it will last for ages. When no longer suitable for eating it goes in the Bokashi bin, i.e. indoor compost system.

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing

Panchali Yapa
Panchali Yapa4 years ago

Thank you.

Melinda K.
Past Member 4 years ago

Great comments listed here, thanks for the read everyone!

Melinda K.
Past Member 4 years ago

Dont forget anything poured down drains can also end up in water ways. Ive been putting old oil in the compost soaked into paper towel.

Wisteria K.
Past Member 4 years ago


Amanda M.
Amanda M4 years ago

I save all our used hamburger and bacon grease for making bird suet with. It gets poured into used food cans and stored in the fridge until I have enough, then once a year it all gets cooked down together. Once the liquid grease cools off enough to start getting cloudy, I mix in birdseed and then spoon it into tinfoil cupcake liners in muffin tins, or I pour it into a tinfoil-lined lasagna pan and cut it into squares once it solidifies. Those slabs or cakes (four per bag) can then be put into quart freezer bags and stuck into the freezer for winter use. Ever since I started doing that in addition to my seed feeder, I've been attracting wrens, downy woodpeckers, flickers, chickadees, and other new varieties of birds to my deck. They absolutely LOVE the stuff, and we get free entertainment. Just consider it another form of recycling as well as free bird food!

Rosemary H.
Rosemary H4 years ago

Don't feed it to wild birds if it has salt in it. Salt is poisonous to birds. I put it in the garden compost.

Heidi Aubrey
Heidi Aubrey4 years ago

There is nothing like bacon grease for frying potatoes in to make the best potato hash you have ever eaten. I save my bacon grease religiously. It is also great for making gravy. A nice white sausage gravy.

Judy Apelis
Judy A4 years ago

Thank you!