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No more oily mess: learn how to recycle used cooking oil

Wondering how to dispose of used cooking oil safely? Don’t throw it down the sink – learn correct cooking oil disposal.


Reading Time: 5 minutes

Written by Eunice Samson

Cooking oil and olives on a table, learn more about recycling oil

Key steps

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

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

  • DO soak up small amounts of oil with paper towels and throw them out with other garbage.

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

French fries, stir-fry, fried chicken – there are no limits to the yummy foods you can cook up in your kitchen with just a splash of oil!  This guide will tell you how to dispose of cooking oil environmentally and safely. It’s time to make used oil recycling the easy part of post-dinner clean-up!

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

How to dispose of cooking oil

When it comes to used oil recycling and how to dispose of cooking oil in general, the most important thing to remember 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. And speaking of sinks, if you want to know how to get your stainless steel sink looking good as new again then read our expert guide to sink cleaning.

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

  • How to dispose of cooking oil in small quantities. If you want to know how to dispose of cooking oil in smaller quantities, wait for the oil to cool down first. Once cool, soak up any oil or grease on the bottom of the pan and cookware with a paper towel. Place the paper towel in your kitchen bin. Clean your cookware using a good cleaner that can cut through the grease.

  • How to dispose of used cooking oil in large quantities. Once again, wait for the oil to cool completely before trying to handle it. Then pour the used cooled oil from the pan 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, properly sealed, in your garbage bin.

If you don’t like the idea of placing used cooking oil in your household waste, you can learn how to recycle used cooking oil instead.

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How to recycle used oil

How to dispose of oil environmentally? Recycling cooking oil might seem like a niche thing to do, but if you’ve just used a large amount of oil, you may be reluctant to throw it away immediately – and with good reason! Try these ideas on how to recycle used oil and welcome to cooking oil recycling at its finest:

  1. Strain the oil through a fine-meshed sieve and store it in a tightly sealed container for reuse. Normally, you can reuse oil a couple of times. But be sure to throw it away immediately if it becomes dark, foamy, or rancid-smelling.

  2. Cooking oil recycling can also be beneficial outside your kitchen. Mix solidified grease with nuts or seeds to make bird cakes for your bird feeder.

You can enjoy now your stir-fry and chips knowing that your sinks won’t pay the price! And remember to always dispose of your used cooking oil responsibly and try used cooking oil recycling to reduce unnecessary waste and spending. 

Safety warning

Hot oil can cause serious burns, so take your time and make sure you always follow safety precautions when cooking and cleaning afterwards.

Do you want to learn which household cleaning tasks cause the most stress?  Then read our Heated Household data analysis. 

Frequently asked questions on the disposal of cooking oil

Can you put cooking oil in compost?

Not sure if you can put cooking oil in compost bins? Most cooking oil should not be put in your compost as it can slow down the composting process. This being said, vegetable oils can help your compost heap but only if added in very small amounts. We advise choosing a different way of disposing of used cooking oils to avoid damage.

Is cooking oil considered a hazardous waste?

Cooking oil, if 100% pure, will decompose quickly and is not considered hazardous. However, when it mixes with other substances it can be considered hazardous.

Is it illegal to pour oil down the drain?

Whilst it may not be illegal in the Philippines to dispose of cooking oil down the sink, you should never do it. It not only runs the risk of clogging the drains, it could also end up travelling through the pipework and damaging the environment in other areas by coating plants and even animals.

How do you solidify used cooking oil?

The easiest way to solidify used cooking oil is to pop the oil into an old can and placing it into the freezer. Once solid enough to remove from the can in once piece, you can simply dispose of the oil in the trash.

Originally published