- Harmful ways to dispose of oils & fats
- What are fatbergs?
- How to dispose of cooking oils & fats (the right way!)
Oil and fats that are incorrectly disposed of down sinks and drains end up causing huge problems in sewers, creating fatbergs. Today we're sharing some simple ways that you can dispose of oils responsibly.
Harmful ways to dispose of oils & fats
There are three things you should never do with cooking oils and fats:
- Rinse them down the sink
- Flush them down the toilet
- Put them in the rubbish bin
You might think that a small amount of oil rinsed down the sink won't do any harm, but it all adds up. Oil and water don't combine, meaning that the oils and fats gather together, producing fatbergs.
Pouring oils and fats directly into your rubbish bin can result in oils spilling out when bags rip. This can attract vermin and potentially be harmful to the environment. For this reason, it's important that we take great care to place oil and fat in sealed containers when we dispose of it.
What are fatbergs?
Fatbergs are large clumps of fat, baby wipes and sanitary items that block sewers and drainage systems. The fat mainly originates from cooking fat and oil which has been put down drains - it can cause chaos!
The oil and fat in drains mix with wet wipes, nappies and other sanitary items that have been wrongly flushed down toilets. The mass solidifies, blocking the system. As sewage can no longer pass through the system, you can end up with flooding and sewage leaks. These leaks destroy homes and damage wildlife.
How to dispose of cooking oils & fats (the right way!)
1. Use a paper towel
If there is just a small amount of fat left on your pans and trays, don't rinse it off in the sink - take a piece of kitchen roll and wipe it off. Dispose of the kitchen roll in your general waste bin and wash up your pans as normal.
On the subject of pans, why not clean your burnt pans with the tips in our other article:?
TOP TIP: If you're in the middle of cooking a dish that looks a little oily, dab the fat off with a piece of kitchen roll.
2. Feed the birds
Used oil and fats don't have to be destined for the bin. Combine suet, lard or other solid fats with a birdseed mix to make bird feeder balls. Leave the mix to cool and solidify. Hang the ball out in your garden and watch the wildlife roll in!
TOP TIP: Put the mixture into half a coconut shell for a sturdy mould.
3. Check with your council
Some councils will gladly collect cooking oil to dispose of correctly. Some will even use it to make fuel!
4. How to reuse fat
If you like getting your money's worth, you can actually reuse fats! All you need to do is filter the used fat through a coffee filter to remove any pieces of food and then pop it into a container. Put the container in the fridge and leave overnight. When it has cooled, you'll find a jelly on top. Remove this before use.
5. Freeze it
Looking for a long-term option? Your freezer will come in handy. Take a spare ice cube tray and fill each cube up with your used, filtered oil or lard. You can reuse it whenever you need to without having to worry about it going bad.
6. Bin it
We may use kitchen roll to mop up and dispose of small amounts of oil, but what about larger quantities? It's easy! Take a non-recyclable container and pour excess oil and fats into it. Seal it well and dispose of it in the general waste bin. If you don't have a non-recyclable container, you can use a jar or a bottle.
7. How to reuse cooking oil
Reusing oil is even easier! If you've cooked using oil, and need to cook something else afterwards, just use that same oil again. If you intend to store the oil for future use, you may wish to filter it first.
Think about what you're reusing the oil with and whether it's appropriate. You don't want to reuse oil that's been used to cook meat in a vegetarian dish or baked goods.
Do you know of any other ways to dispose of oil and fat? Let us know in the comments below!