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Oil recycling: how to dispose of oil at home

Not sure how to dispose of cooking oil? Grease the wheels with these tips on how to reuse and even recycle old oil at home.


Reading Time: 5 minutes

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Key steps

To recycle cooking oil, follow these key steps:

  1. If the oil hasn’t been heated to smoking point, wait for it to cool then store and reuse.

  2. If it has, wait for it to cool then wipe with a paper towel and place in your kitchen's food waste. 

There are no limits to the many treats you can cook with a splash of oil – fry-ups, stir-fries, homemade chips – but once the meal is over, how do you dispose of it? Here we explain the alternative ways of dealing with leftover oil and everything you need to know when it comes to oil recycling in the home.  

Clean up oil splashes on your cabinets or kitchen worktops with a multipurpose cleaner – such as Handy Andy.

How to dispose of cooking oil

There are a few different options when it comes to cooking oil disposal but which one you use will depend on the quantity of used oil you have to dispose of. The important thing to remember is that cooking oil, or any other kind of grease and fat, should never be disposed of down the sink – not only because once it solidifies it can cause blockages and lead to a leak in your home but also because it can harm the environment.

Here are the main processes to follow when disposing of cooking oil:

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In small quantities:

  • Start by waiting for the oil to cool down completely. Hot oil can cause burns, so take your time and follow safety precautions.

  • Once cool, soak up any oil on the bottom of pans and cookware with a paper towel.

  • Place the paper towel in your kitchen bin.

In large quantities:

  • Once again, wait for the oil to cool down completely.

  • Pour the used oil from your pans and cookware into a carton, container, or old oil bottle that you don’t mind getting rid of.

  • Store the oil in the fridge overnight until it solidifies into grease.

  • Place the container in your rubbish bin.

How to recycle oil

Cooking oils can be filtered and recycled into a range of products – such as bio-fuel, cosmetics, or animal feed. If you're interested in recycling used oil, try these optionas:

  • Contact your city about a recycling program. Check your local government’s site or call your local authority as some cities offer a grease pick up once or twice a year. You can store your used cooking oil in a container until the next collection. Just make sure it is leak-proof.

  • Donate your used cooking oil. This is an ideal used oil recycling method and means you don't have to keep old oil in your home. Check with local restaurants in your area – some local fire departments might also accept it – and see if they can give your used oil a new life.

  • Reach out to recycling centres. Most centres can use any type of cooking oil to make biodiesel. Some even have bins where you can pour the oil directly. Check first and avoid mixing your cooking oil with other liquids if recycling in this way.

Safety Warning

Before you try your hand at cooking oil recycling, make sure it is fully cooled to avoid injury. When cooking with oil, remember to take care as it can spit and cause nasty burns.

How to reuse oil at home

Another great way to recycle cooking oil is by reusing it at home. Not sure how? Follow these tips:

  1. Strain the oil through a fine-meshed sieve. This will help to remove any fragments of food or other contaminates. 

  2. Store it in a sealed container. Make sure it is tightly sealed to avoid spillages.

  3. Reuse it a couple of times in cooking. Only use it to cook foods without strong flavours as otherwise it could affect the taste of future meals when reusing the oil.

  4. Dispose of it immediately if it becomes dark, foamy, or smells rancid. This is a sign that it is no longer safe.

  5. Smaller amounts of cooking oil can be used for your bird feeder! Store it in the fridge overnight and mix the solidified grease with nuts or seeds to make bird cakes.

Now you know how to dispose of oil at home, there’s no need to let it clog up the sink or just throw it in the bin. With these steps for cooking oil disposal, you can enjoy your next fry-ups or serving of chips without worry.

Originally published