Recycling Used Cooking Oil and Turkey Fryer Oil
After the success of deep frying your Thanksgiving Day turkey, it’s time to properly dispose of those gallons of leftover cooking oil. Good news: You might be able to drop off and recycle used cooking oil. Many cities around the U.S. team up with their water treatment and other municipal services that are happy to take your used cooking oil for recycling.
Once you’re able to move again, after your gigantic Thanksgiving feast, look for signs and flyers or check your local news for details on recycling sites in your community, as well as when and what types of cooking oil are accepted. Depending on where you live, you may even find out how that used cooking oil can also be recycled year-round!
Usually, these recycling events for fats, oils and grease are intended for residential cooking oil only, as opposed to commercial or industrial cooking operations. Motor oil or petroleum-based grease is another issue. For tips on recycling other types of motor oil, see our Slick Tips on Recycling Motor Oil.
Tip: Don’t pour fats, grease, or cooking oil down your kitchen sinks- this causes blockages in pipes and sewer systems that are pricy to fix. Oils accumulate over time and cause sewer back-ups that are a bane not only to homeowners, as sewer overflows in cities contaminate streets and waterways. Unclogging drain lines and cleaning up sewer overflows is very expensive both for homeowners and for cities.
City recycling programs for cooking oil will often save taxes that residents pay for waste water maintenance, as grease buildups can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and thousands of staff hours to repair. In addition, excessive concentrations of oils and grease interfere with the waste water treatment process.
Grease Makes It Go
Turkey fryer oil and grease is used to produce a clean burning substitute for diesel fuel. Organizers also work with local companies in many cases to collect used cooking oil and convert it into biodiesel fuel. This in turn can help power your city or county’s vehicle fleet, and diesel fuel can be used in any diesel engine to help reduce dependence on fossil fuel. Biodiesel fuel produces less greenhouse emissions compared to gasoline.
Tips for Cooking Oil Recycling Events
Typically, organizers at collection sites will request that your used cooking oil is free of things like food scraps, water, and soap suds. Make sure to use a clean, durable, leak-proof container with a tight lid when you bring your used cooking oil to the drop-off locations.
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