Green Kitchen Tip #8
Oil and water don’t mix. That includes waste cooking oil and sink wastewater. Even mixing oil with soap or detergent before sending it down the drain is a bad practice. Fats, oils, and greases (collectively coined FOGs) cause pipe clogs and increase wastewater management expenses.
Try not to absent-mindedly toss your FOGs in the trash either. Animal fats, when cooled in a jar, can be thrown out, but vegetable oil is a different beast. If you must discard of vegetable oil, collect it in a container and then mix it with cat litter, dirt or something similar, in order to incorporate it into a solid substance before tossing it in the trash. But even then, landfills frown upon disposing of large quantities of FOGs. If you have a large quantity of FOGs to dispose of, try to break up the disposal over the course of several weeks.
But why throw it out if you can reuse it? Considering that “conventional methods for extracting oil from plant materials require enormous amounts of energy, which in turn produce significant greenhouse gas emissions,” we should be looking to make the most of this energy-intensive product. Here are some ideas for re-use:
- Depending on where you live, you may be able to recycle your oil at a recycling facility
- Some people make their own biodiesel with used cooking oil, try to find someone in your area who makes his or her own biodiesel
- Contact a local restaurant that you have a good relationship with, if they recycle their oil they may be willing to add yours to the pot
- If you heat your home with a woodstove or fireplace, you could mix used oil with sawdust and use it to light your fire. Use this sparingly, as oil has a tendency to produce black smoke and probably leaves a residue in the stack.
- In small amounts, you can add vegetable oil to your compost, however mix it well with leaves, grass clippings and wood chips. In urban areas, it is best to avoid composting animal fats.
Labels: environmental impact