Used cooking oil is one of those waste substances many people aren’t quite sure how to throw away properly.
If there’s one thing you should know about throwing away cooking oil, it’s that you should never pour it down the sink, or directly into drains. Even if you break down the oil with soap and hot water, it can re-solidify once it cools down and cause drain pipes and sewers to get blocked. The oil can also travel into waterways, including rivers and lakes where animals live. As it builds up it can cause the water’s oxygen levels to drop, which can suffocate wildlife living in it.
Don’t be tempted to put your used oil in the compost bin either, because it won’t be hot enough to break it down.
Cooks at home have a number of options for throwing away their used oil. The first thing you need to do is let the oil cool down, so you can transfer it into a container before throwing it away. Drain the cooking oil into a sealable container, ideally one that you can’t recycle.
If it’s the kind of oil that solidifies, you can put it in the fridge or freezer until it turns into a block you can easily throw in the bin.
Alternatively, you can collect the oil in a container, which you can gradually fill up and take to your nearest recycling centre. A number of local recycling centres will now take your cooking oil waste free of charge.
If you own a catering or restaurant business, it’s important to dispose of your cooking oil correctly. Failing to do so can result in prosecution because the effects can be particularly detrimental. It could cause flooding if pipes are blocked and it could make sewers overflow too.
The government has specific guidelines for storing various kinds of oil, including waste cooking oil, in containers above 200 litres. If you store your oil in a building, you need to meet fire safety regulations too. You can find out what the regulations are in your area from your local council.
Using recycled oil as an energy source is becoming increasingly popular because it produces less greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, and is therefore more environmentally friendly. It is also a more economical option and can help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
The UK government regularly releases a report on the use of biofuels under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation, which regulates biofuels used for transport and non-road mobile machinery. According to its latest report, covering April 2015 to 2016, waste cooking oil from the UK is the most widely reported source of biofuel to have Renewable Transport Fuel Certification (RTFC). The certificate indicates it meets certain sustainability requirements. The fuel from cooking oil accounts for 28% of biodiesel.
Once any food particles have been filtered out of your waste cooking oil, it can be turned into biofuel which can be used for a variety of applications.
It can be used in transportation, where it is compatible with most standard engines without any design changes being made. It can even help extend the life of engines because it provides better lubrication. It can also be used to power diesel engines to produce electricity.
Wastecycle provides a variety of cost-effective bespoke recycling solutions. To find out more please complete the form at the bottom of the page, or take a look at our waste oil services.