Thursday, February 22, 2007

Green Kitchen Tip #8

Cooking oil

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.



At February 22, 2007 5:10 PM, Blogger OMM said...

So much great info! Its not often that we have leftover oil, since I add it to recipes & don't fry. The Hubz on the other hand loves his fried nasties. Great info, as always!

At February 24, 2007 2:30 PM, Blogger Susan said...

What great tips! Thanks!

At February 25, 2007 4:27 PM, Blogger ericswan said...

Zeolite would be a great repository for any waste product we have. It's like kitty litter in that it is extracted from the earth as an industrial mineral but it has that added advantage in that it is an aluminum silicate that won't turn to much when it is applied to a pollutant. I tried to put this link up before but no luck as the link is long. I'll try to put a live link here but I'm not good at it. Here goes. I'm going to give it a try.

a >href"<"zeolite">.a

At February 28, 2007 2:15 PM, Blogger Jade said...

LOL, OMM! :)

I'm glad you guys found this informative.

So, ericswan, do you think zeolite would outperform cat litter in wet + oily situations? Cat litter turns to clay in wet conditions, does zeolite stay solid and still absorb oil?

At February 28, 2007 6:32 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

I especially like the fire starter trick, I camp a lot and when things are damp some oil-soaked fire starter might do the trick.

I steam most things now, so I don't use much oil for cooking. A properly seasoned cast iron skillet ( ) is a great way to cook with less oil. You also don't have to worry about what's in the new synthetic non-stick cookware today now that Teflon is gone.

At March 01, 2007 8:46 AM, Blogger Jade said...

Very true, Jeff. Cast iron skillets can also be a source of iron in the diet. I'd rather be ingesting minerals than fluorinated organics from my pans.

I plan on trying the oil fire-starting trick too. I usually start fires with little splinters of wood, so I think adding oil-soaked sawdust would be advantageous.


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