Responsible disposal of fats and oils
At Maintain Drains, we want to help you avoid the inconvenience of blocked drains. One of the main causes of blocked drains and drainage systems is the improper disposal of fats, oils, and greases (or FOGs). These substances can solidify in drainage systems and form blockages that are difficult to get rid of without professional help. They can also contribute to bigger problems like fatbergs in sewer pipes. With that in mind, here is our guide to dealing with leftover cooking oils, as well as other types of fat.
Disposing of oils – What to do.
The first thing to consider is that oils and fats often come in liquid form, so putting them straight in the bin may not be an option. The first and simplest option is to place the oil in a disposable container (ideally a non-recyclable one) – and it can then be placed in the bin. It is important to let the oil cool before doing this (if you have used it for cooking), otherwise, it may be more likely to attract pests. It could also pose a fire risk if the oil is too hot.
An alternative method of disposal is to place your oil into a suitable container and place it in the fridge or freezer. It will then solidify/harden – and it can be removed from the container and placed straight into the bin. This is good because it avoids creating any unnecessary waste. If you have a very small amount of oil, it is probably fine to put it straight into the bin (making sure it is cooled first). You could also use something absorbent like a kitchen towel to soak it up – thus making disposal easier.
Another option is to consider using a grease disposal system – although this is more suitable if you deal with large amounts of waste oils. These make disposal of oil convenient and easy by using specially designed foil bags.
Responsible disposal of fats and oils – What NOT to do.
It is important to understand what you must not do when it comes to disposing of FOGs. The most obvious point is to not pour it down the drain. That means any drains in the house, or outside it. As well as causing blockages in drains and pipes, it can also make water treatment harder and cause pollution in the local environment.
As well as the previously mentioned points about hot oil, you should avoid putting large amounts of oil straight into the bin. Besides attracting pests, it can make it difficult for you to dispose of waste bags, and cause a nuisance for rubbish lorries when they pick up your waste. Another point is to avoid putting oil onto your compost heap. Whilst it may seem like a good idea, oil is not good for compost and can make it less effective.
Disposing of oils – Recycling.
As well as disposal, there is also the option to recycle your waste oils. Cooking oils can often be reused once or twice – after straining to remove any particles. It can then be placed in an airtight container in a dark place. It is important to check the oil before you reuse it, as it may go bad after one or two additional uses. Another option is to look into recycling your oil into biodiesel, or see if your local recycling centre accepts oils.
Other ways to recycle oils:
- Making Fat Balls. Fat Balls are a great way to attract wildlife into your garden and feed birds during the colder parts of the year.
- Soap Making. Certain types of soap can be made using waste oils as a base.
- Cosmetics. Certain oils, such as coconut oil make excellent moisturisers, and can be used to keep your hands and skin healthy. They could also be used to create conditioners for your hair.
- Protecting your gardening tools. By coating the metal parts of your gardening tools with oil, you make them more resistant to rusting in the weather outside. It will also help to keep them cleaner by preventing things from sticking to them.
- Houseplant pest control. A mixture of oil and water can be sprayed onto houseplants to deal with certain types of pests that might pose a danger to your plants.
- Have a go at making an oil lamp. Oil lamps are a useful way to turn your leftover oil into a practical item, or even a gift. Oil lamps tend to be more efficient than candles, and will burn for longer.
- They could be ideal during a power cut or blackout. You could also add some essential oils to give them a scent, or colourings to make them look nicer. More information can be found here.
Responsible disposal of fats and oils – Businesses:
Dealing with your waste oil gets more complicated when you run a business. You may have to deal with much larger amounts, and there are important regulations that need to be followed. Details on how to dispose of used cooking oils can be found in the Food Safety Act 1990. Following these guidelines is important, as you could be fined or even shut down if found to be in breach of the rules.
If your business is storing or reusing oils, you will need a designated storage tank. When this oil needs to be disposed of, it must be collected by a waste oil handling company that is registered with the Environment Agency. It is also important to keep records of your waste collections, as businesses are required to keep records for a minimum of 6 years.
Thanks for reading.
We hope this article has helped you to understand more about the responsible disposal of fats and oils and how to avoid blocking your drains. Unfortunately, drain blockages aren’t always avoidable, and can be unpredictable. Fortunately, we are here to help.
Maintain Drains is available 24/7 to deal with any drainage problems that may strike, including blocked drains.
Q: How can I properly dispose of leftover cooking oils?
A: You can dispose of leftover cooking oils by placing them in a disposable container and putting it in the bin once it cools. Alternatively, you can solidify the oil by placing it in the fridge or freezer and then disposing of it in the bin.
Q: Can I pour oils and fats down the drain?
A: No, you should never pour oils and fats down the drain as they can cause blockages in the drainage system and contribute to pollution in the environment.
Q: Is there a way to recycle waste oils?
A: Yes, waste oils can be recycled for various purposes, such as making fat balls for wildlife, soap making, cosmetics, protecting gardening tools, and even making oil lamps.
Q: How can I dispose of waste oils as a business?
A: If you run a business and deal with larger amounts of waste oil, you need to follow regulations outlined in the Food Safety Act 1990. You may need a designated storage tank and have waste oil collected by a registered waste oil handling company.
Q: Can I use waste oils for biodiesel or check if the local recycling center accepts oils?
A: Yes, waste oils can be recycled into biodiesel. You can also inquire if your local recycling center accepts oils for recycling.
Q: What should I avoid doing when disposing of fats and oils?
A: Avoid pouring oil down the drain, putting large amounts of oil straight into the bin, and adding oil to compost heaps, as it can attract pests and reduce compost effectiveness.