How to dispose of cooking oil

Wondering how do you dispose of cooking oil safely? Don’t throw it down the sink – read Cleanipedia’s guide to cooking oil disposal to learn the right method.

Updated 15 September 2023


AuthorBy Cleanipedia Team

Reading Time5 minutes

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Key steps

  1. 1

    DO NOT pour cooking oil down sinks or drains – while this method of disposing of cooking oil might seem convenient, the oil can solidify and cause blockages.

  2. 2

    DO wait for the oil to cool down before disposing of it. Hot oil is a safety hazard.

  3. 3

    DO soak up small amounts of oil with paper towels and through them out with your household waste.

  4. 4

    DO let larger amounts of oil cool and solidify before you scrape it into a waste container and dispose of it in your general waste.

Fry-ups, stir-fries, even homemade chips – there are no limits to the treats you can cook up in your kitchen with a splash of oil! But once the meal is over, you’re often left asking “how do you dispose of cooking oil after it’s been used”? 

Learn how to dispose of oil you’ve cooked with safely and correctly with our handy tips and make cooking oil disposal an easy part of your post-dinner clean-up.

Clean up any oily or greasy splashes on your cabinets or worktops with a cleaner designed to cut through fatty stains, like Cif.

How To Get Rid of Cooking Oil

The most important thing to remember about cooking oil disposal is that you should never throw cooking oil – or any other kind of cooking grease or fat – down the sink. Once it cools and solidifies, it can cause blockages which might even lead to a leak in your home.

Always dispose of food waste, including cooking oils and fats, by placing them in a sealed container in your general waste. There are a few different ways to do this with a liquid waste like cooking oil.

  • How to dispose of cooking oil in small quantities

Start by waiting for the oil to cool down. Hot oil can cause serious burns, so take your time and make sure you always follow safety precautions when cooking and cleaning afterwards. Once cool, soak up any oil or grease on the bottom of pans and cookware with a paper towel. Place the paper towel in your kitchen bin.

  • Disposing of cooking oil in large quantities

Once again, wait for the oil to cool completely before trying to handle it. Then pour the used oil from your pans or cookware into an old carton or container – old oil bottles work well. Store the oil in the fridge overnight until it solidifies into grease. Place the container in your rubbish bin.

If you don’t like the idea of placing used cooking oil in your household waste then you may be able to recycle it using local services. Some supermarkets collect used cooking oil, and you can also check if there is a community oil recycling point near to you. If there are no local recycling options, just make sure your used oil is in a sealed container and it is safe to dispose of in your household waste.

Can I Reuse Cooking Oil?

If you’ve just used a large amount of oil then you might be reluctant to throw it away immediately and with good reason. Try these ideas to reuse your oil and reduce waste:

  1. 1

    Strain the oil through a fine-meshed sieve and store it in a tightly sealed container to reuse. You can normally reuse oil a couple of times but should throw it away immediately if it becomes dark, foamy or rancid-smelling.

  2. 2

    Smaller amounts of cooking oil or fat can find a second life in your bird feeder! Mix solidified grease with nuts or seeds to make bird cakes.

With these steps for disposing of cooking oil safely and without risk to your pipes, you can enjoy your next fry-up or serve of chips without worry. Always discard your used oil responsibly and reuse it where possible to reduce unnecessary waste and spending.

Grease Disposal for Commercial Kitchens

Proper grease disposal is a critical aspect of maintaining a clean and safe environment in commercial kitchens. Improper disposal not only poses environmental risks but can also lead to costly plumbing issues. Here are essential guidelines for grease disposal in commercial kitchens:

  1. 1

    Use Grease Traps: Install and regularly clean grease traps or interceptors to capture fats, oils, and grease (FOG) from wastewater. This prevents FOG buildup in plumbing and sewage systems.

  2. 2

    Contract with a Grease Hauler: Establish a contract with a licensed grease hauling company. They will pump out and dispose of collected grease from your traps according to local regulations.

  3. 3

    Follow Local Regulations: Familiarize yourself with local and state regulations governing grease disposal. Compliance is essential to avoid fines and environmental damage.

  4. 4

    Educate Staff: Train kitchen staff on the importance of proper grease disposal and maintenance of grease traps. Encourage them to scrape plates and pans before washing to reduce FOG entering the drains.

  5. 5

    Document and Record: Maintain records of grease trap cleanings and disposals. Proper documentation ensures compliance and helps identify any issues.

By adhering to these guidelines, commercial kitchens can effectively manage grease disposal, protect the environment, and prevent costly plumbing problems.

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