Properly Discarding Used Cooking Oil

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Waste oil from cooking is produced naturally by both businesses and households, often as a result of frying foods in their kitchens. It is imperative that you refrain from pouring the cooking oil down your sink or drain when disposing of it. Proper procedures must be followed to prevent blockages when disposing of waste oil in the UK.

The good news is that a majority of waste cooking oil can be recycled and transformed into biofuels, which are renewable sources of energy. There are various domestic and commercial methods available for disposing of used cooking oil. By adhering to these methods, you can ensure safety, legality, and environmental protection when getting rid of your used cooking oil.

Discover the proper ways to dispose of cooking oil from your business or home with the help of this guide.

Proper Methods for Disposing of Used Cooking Oil

The appropriate steps for handling used cooking oil in the UK depend on where the waste is generated, whether in a business or a household. The best options for disposing of cooking oil, both for homes and businesses, include reusing it whenever possible or storing it in a secure container and sending it for recycling or disposal.

It is crucial that you avoid pouring any used oil down the drain. There is a common misconception that pouring boiling water down afterwards can help in this process. While it may seem beneficial momentarily, the oil will still solidify further down the pipe or in your drain, leading to blockages and other issues.

Gain a thorough understanding of the most effective ways to dispose of cooking oil with the following sections tailored for businesses and households.

Proper Disposal of Commercial Cooking Oil

Businesses such as commercial kitchens, restaurants, bakeries, catering companies, and any other establishment that produces waste cooking oil must adhere to the guidelines outlined by the Food Safety Act 1990 for the disposal of cooking oil. These guidelines, established by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), state that waste cooking oil must be stored securely and collected by a licensed waste carrier.

small full bottle of cooking oil on table.

It is important for businesses to note that used cooking oil cannot be disposed of with other food or kitchen waste. Doing so may result in spillages, unpleasant odors, pollution problems, and contamination, which may lead to refusal of waste removal. Furthermore, pouring cooking oil down drains or sewers can result in fines and legal action.

In order to dispose of cooking oil as a business, you must first store it in a secure container. This container should have a lid, be leak-free, and securely sealed to prevent any oil from spilling out. The choice of container depends on the amount of waste cooking oil your business generates. Some businesses use designated storage tanks, while others utilize waste drums and barrels.

Next, you must arrange for the collection of your used cooking oil by a licensed waste carrier, regardless of the type of business you operate. This ensures that your business fulfills its responsibilities under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The licensed waste carrier will then transport your cooking oil to an appropriate facility for recycling or disposal.

Proper Methods for Disposing of Domestic Cooking Oil

Engaging in culinary pursuits, such as frying bacon for breakfast, concocting a delectable stir-fry for dinner, or indulging in the guilty pleasure of deep-fried chips, often leaves us with an abundance of residual cooking oil. Even though the quantity pales in comparison to what commercial kitchens produce, there exist a handful of expeditious and convenient ways by which we can dispose of used cooking oil in our own homes:

  • Reutilize the Cooking Oil – Opting for the most environmentally friendly option involves reusing the cooking oil. This can be accomplished once or twice, since cooking oil can be employed multiple times before it becomes excessively soiled and necessitates cleaning. By straining the used cooking oil through a coffee filter and storing it in a secure container in a dimly lit area, you can extend its usability.
  • Render it Solid and Discard – If you have small quantities of used cooking oil, you can solidify it by freezing or refrigerating it and then dispose of it along with your regular household waste.
  • Combine it with Other Materials – An alternative method to hasten the disposal process involves combining the cooking oil with substances like cat litter, sawdust, or sand, which effectively absorb the oil. This amalgamation prepares it for disposal.
  • Include it in the General Waste – In the event that you possess a minute amount of waste cooking oil, you have the option of pouring it into your general waste bin. To prevent any leakage from the bin bag, it is preferable to employ a non-recyclable container or absorb the oil with a paper towel or food scraps.
  • Recycle the Cooking Oil – Determine whether your local household recycling center accepts used cooking oil or if it can be placed in a food waste recycling bin (using a recyclable container).

Appropriate Disposal of Used Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil encompasses the many types of cooking oil derived from plant-based sources (in contrast to fish oil, lard, butter, and other fats). The methods for disposing of used vegetable oil parallel those employed for eliminating waste cooking oil from commercial establishments and residences.

In situations involving minuscule quantities, you can also add small amounts of vegetable oil to compost. Yet, exercise caution and ensure the quantity remains minimal. Including excessive waste vegetable oil in a compost pile impairs the composting process. This is due to the oil forming a hydrophobic barrier that obstructs air circulation and displaces water, both of which are vital for aerobic composting. The following types of vegetable oil can be composted in small quantities:

  • Olive oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Corn oil
  • Canola oil

Recycling Cooking Oil

Recycling cooking oil entails reusing it instead of consigning it to a landfill. This not only prevents the contamination of other waste streams but also reduces the likelihood of clogged pipes resulting from improper disposal. Although small quantities of cooking oil can be added to your food waste recycling services, larger volumes should be recycled separately.

cooking oil in frying pan.

Recycled cooking oil is predominantly repurposed to create alternative fuels or serve as animal feed. Moreover, some recycled cooking oil finds its way into cleaning products and various household commodities, including soaps, shampoos, moisturizers, and lamp oil. By initiating the recycling process, cooking oil serves a far more meaningful purpose than languishing in a landfill.

The Significance of Recycling Cooking Oil

Recycling cooking oil assumes a vital role by conserving the energy and resources required for the production of fresh cooking oil. Unlike most other oils, cooking oil does not become obsolete after its initial use; it simply becomes soiled. Consequently, reusing or recycling used cooking oil emerges as the most optimal choice. Additionally, it prevents the obstruction of drains and sewers due to improper disposal of cooking oil.

The recycling of used cooking oil facilitates its conversion into biofuels, which can be employed for heating, generating power, and fueling vehicles. These biofuels possess the advantage of burning cleanly and emitting no carbon monoxide. Moreover, cooking oil recycling diminishes the risk of environmental contamination by diverting it away from landfills, where it poses fire hazards and contributes to elevated pollution levels.

An Overview of the Recycling Process for Cooking Oil

One of the primary methods of recycling cooking oil involves transforming it into a biofuel known as biodiesel. Once you have disposed of the waste cooking oil from your household or business, it will be taken to a specialized oil recycling center. The recycling process for cooking oil typically proceeds as follows:

  • The used cooking oil undergoes a thorough examination to determine its quality, which involves assessing its color and clarity. This evaluation helps establish the estimated duration of the recycling process.
  • Through a sieving and cleaning process in a tank, any food particles and solid waste are separated from the cooking oil. Additionally, the oil is heated to facilitate the removal of small impurities and debris that settle at the bottom.
  • The cleansed oil is filtered until it meets the stringent requirements set by biofuel refineries.
  • Once the cooking oil meets the necessary standards, it is transported to a dedicated biodiesel refinery to undergo the transesterification process, which ultimately converts it into biodiesel.
  • The resulting recycled biodiesel finds application in various vehicles, heating systems, and electricity generators that require such fuel.

Efficiently Arrange Collection of Used Cooking Oil

Ensure the appropriate disposal of your waste cooking oil by scheduling its collection with Business Waste today. Benefit from the provision of complimentary containers to securely store your waste cooking oil on site, with the collection service being the only aspect that incurs a cost. Arrange for the collection of used cooking oil as a one-time occurrence or according to a daily, weekly, or fortnightly schedule that meets your specific requirements.

Our team of licensed waste carriers will collect your used cooking oil and transport it to a specialized facility nearby that is dedicated to its recycling. Thanks to our extensive nationwide network, we are able to offer waste cooking oil collection services across the entire UK, regardless of the industry you belong to or the quantity of leftover oil that needs to be disposed of.

Obtain a no-obligation quote for the collection of used cooking oil in your area by dialing 0800 211 8390 today – or reach out to us online.

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