Pouring cooking oil down the drain or throwing it out without proper care might be messy and unsanitary, while also clogging up your drain. Here's how you can dispose off grease properly, using these tips.
Proper disposal of cooking oil and fats is important to prevent environmental pollution and clogged drainage systems. While it is pretty much against the norm to discard cooking grease by pouring into your sink or even by leaving it flow loosely in your trash can, disposing cooking fats can become quite messy, if not handled well. Call it gross or unsanitary, disposing off cooking oils or fats down the drain undergo a process in the sewage system called saponification – where the fatty acids mixed into sewer water react to the alkaline salts to produce solid substances akin to soap.
But before oil or fat is considered not fit to use, it might help to take a minute and assess whether it can be repurposed for cooking once more, before it is discarded. Oil that has been used for deep-frying just once or twice, can definitely be reused in tadkas, to sauté ingredients and even in stir frying things. As long as used oil is strained to remove any food particles stored in an air-tight jar and refrigerated, it can be given a longer shelf life and used widely in place of fresh cooking oil. Following a few simple techniques like allowing the cooking oil or fat to cool completely before handling or disposing it off is the safest first step as hot oil can cause burns or start fires.
If the oil cannot be reused or recycled, you can solidify it to make it easier to dispose of. Pour the cooled oil into a disposable, heat-resistant container, such as an empty coffee can or a jar and refrigerate it for an hour or two. Alternately, you can stuff the container with paper towels to speed up the solidification process. Once the mixture solidifies, seal the container and place it in the regular trash. Small amounts of vegetable-based cooking oil can also be added to a compost pile, as long as the oil is not rancid. However, avoid adding large quantities of oil since it can disrupt the composting process.