How Do I Dispose of Used Cooking Oil?

Crystal Cook
Crystal Cook
Cooking oils.
Cooking oils.

The disposal of used cooking oil poses a problem for many people. Cooking oils should never be poured down drains, because the oils can contaminate the environment and cause blockages in pipes. Used cooking oil should be thrown away in sealed containers or recycled into a variety of other products.

Keep in mind that some cooking oils, such as those used to deep fry foods, can be reused if you carefully strain them and store them in a sealable container such as a plastic jar or coffee can. If you cannot reuse the oil, pour it into a sealable container and simply throw it away. This applies only to small amounts of oil. If you have a large amount of used cooking oil, take it to your local landfill to dispose of it.

Cooking oil is either plant or animal in origin, and it is considered to be organic. You can add it to your compost heap of you have one. As it breaks down, it will add vital nourishment to your compost and yard.

Cooking oil.
Cooking oil.

There are many uses for used cooking oil around the house. Save your used cooking oil and then use it the same way that you would use machine oil. You can lubricate wheels or rusted objects, fix squeaking door hinges and even unstick locks. Cooking oil can be used as an anti-rust coating on some objects or as coating on a snow shovel to keep snow from sticking when you are shoveling your driveway. Reusing the oil in this way can save you a lot of money.

Biodiesel may present a green alternative to traditional diesel fuels.
Biodiesel may present a green alternative to traditional diesel fuels.

Cooking oil recycling has become a popular method of cooking oil disposal. There are many recycling facilities that will accept cooking oil as long as it is strained and placed in a sealable container. If you cannot use the original container, make sure to use one that you can clearly label.

Recycling facilities turn used cooking oil into the raw materials that are then turned into new products. It can be used to make poultry seed, pet foods, perfumes, antifreeze and other products. Try to keep the oil from being mixed with petroleum products or with water, because this will keep the recycling facility from being able to properly process it.

Used cooking oil also can be turned into biofuel. This alternative fuel is used as a substitute for diesel fuels and will work for both vehicles and homes. Some newer car engines can use this biofuel, and older engines can be modified to use it. Boilers and furnaces in homes also can be modified to use fuel derived from cooking oils.

Discussion Comments


My dad kept a can of kitchen grease in the garage that he would use on his car or around the house. It always seemed to work but it made the whole house smell like fried food. His car especially was bad. Driving around in it was almost like being next to a fryer. His car smelled like a burger restaurant.


I know that a lot of fast food restaurants are able to get rid of waste cooking oil by giving it to people who run their cars on it. I have even heard of people fighting over the oil in places where a lot of people use it like in California.

When you hear all the practical things that people are able to do with used cooking oil it starts to seem more valuable than crude oil. We think of this as waste but really it only begins to become useful one it has been cooked with. I hope that we can direct our efforts in the future to better take advantage of this resource. I don't think we are going to have any fewer fast food restaurants.

My mom always saved her bacon grease and kept it in the refrigerator. She would use it occasionally to give things a bacon flavor. A little scoop in the pan when you were cooking eggs or meat was delicious.

She was a very resourceful woman and always avoided getting rid of anything. Later in life she became kind of a hoarder but it never got too bad. And I admire her instinct. People throw away so much useful stuff.

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • Cooking oils.
      Cooking oils.
    • Cooking oil.
      By: design56
      Cooking oil.
    • Biodiesel may present a green alternative to traditional diesel fuels.
      By: Anna Lurye
      Biodiesel may present a green alternative to traditional diesel fuels.