A Restaurant Owner’s Guide to Used Cooking Oil
As a restaurant owner, it is up to you to decide how to handle used cooking oils. Some of the oil may wind up in a grease trap, whereas others may be left behind after cooking. No one wants fats, oils and grease winding up in the pipes or sewer systems as this can lead to devastating consequences.
When it comes to oil disposal, you have to think about your sewer system, the environment and your resources. If you are new to the restaurant industry or have too much cooking oil, here are a few ways you can dispose of it.
Use Cooking Oil for Future Dishes
Leftover fats and oils are usable. Oils and fats add flavor to dishes. You can use leftover oils to add depth to your future dishes. If you want to use your oil in the future, you have to strain it. You can use coffee filters or cheesecloths to strain out any of the food particles. Then, once the oil is clean, you can store it in the refrigerator or a dark place. If the fat has already solidified, then you can allow it to liquefy before you strain it into a jar and keep it in a safe place for later.
Donate Cooking Oil
There are a lot of cities that allow residents and restaurants to donate cooking oil. They can use the oil to make biodiesel. If you produce a lot of leftover oil, you may want to consider a donation center for your oil. You can research where the closest cooking oil donation place is to donate your used oils.
Upcycle the Oil
There are a lot of different ways that you can use cooking oil. One thing that you could do with your old oil is to create soap. All you need is the right materials and recipe. Also, you could use oil in your compost heap. While too much oil can hurt earthworms, they thrive on a little. You can also add a little oil to your bird feeders in the winter. In colder months, birds need additional calories to survive. If you put fat into stockings and hang them outside throughout the winter, birds can feed on it.
You can also use oil to kill weeds. All you need to do is add some oil to a spray bottle with a little water and spray to kill the weeds. Likewise, oils can be used for lighting. Given that there are so many uses for oil outside of the kitchen, you never have to run out of ideas.
Try Absorbent Materials
If you need to dispose of your oil and do not know how to do so, you can use absorbent materials. For instance, you may not want to put liquid oils or fats in your garbage. You can mix the oil with flour or cat litter to soak it up. Then, when you throw it out, you don’t have to worry about any oil spills in your kitchen.
Use a Grease Trap
If you own a restaurant where you cook with oil and fat on a regular basis, then you need to have a grease trap installed in your kitchen. Grease traps not only keep your restaurant smelling clean, but it can ensure that you do not wind up with fats, oils and grease in your sewer system.
A grease trap separates food, water and the grease. Since grease is lighter than water, you will see the grease float to the top. When you have a grease trap, you also must invest in grease trap cleaning. Trap services remove the grease on a routine basis. Grease traps prevent any clogs or grease winding up in a sanitary sewer system. As with all kitchen appliances, you do need to keep up with grease trap maintenance. On average, you should have your trap cleaned once every one to three months. It all depends on the volume that you produce and the amount of grease floating in your system.
As a restaurant owner, you have to have a plan in place for your used cooking oils. While grease traps prevent clogs, you can also utilize recycling companies, donation spots and future cooking to handle your used cooking oil in St Louis, MO.
Why You Shouldn’t Throw Away Your Used Cooking Oil
It’s important to keep in mind what’s dumped in your kitchen sink. Used cooking oil, for instance, can wreak havoc on your home’s, restaurant’s, or city’s plumbing. To better understand how to prevent these issues from occurring and the best ways to dispose of used cooking oil, make sure to read our guide below.
Why Shouldn’t You Dump Used Cooking Oil Down The Drain?
You may have heard of the term “fatberg.” This portmanteau of “fat” and “iceberg” is the result of fats, oils, and grease collecting in sewer lines to form one giant, amorphous blob. While the term “fatberg” tends to evoke laughter in those that hear it, they can cause serious damage to communities. They clog pipes, forcing sewage to find other routes of escape.
These blockages are not uncommon. New York, Detroit, and London have all undergone highly public battles against them, and it’s estimated that millions of dollars each year unclogging sewer pipes across the country. The example of Detroit may be an extreme case, with officials estimating the fatberg as measuring 100-feet long, 11-feet wide, and 6-feet tall.
Unfortunately, despite increased publicity surrounding the problem, issues of used cooking oils clogging sewer pipes are still common. The Environmental Protection Agency, in fact, states the average amount of uncollected grease that enters sewage treatment plants is between 800 to 17,000 pounds per restaurant per year.
As fats, oils, and grease – or FOG – begin to collect in sewer pipes, they also begin to take on new partners. Wet wipes, even those marked flushable, and other solid items can make it difficult for the clog to disperse. These materials can also damage wastewater facilities.
How Should Home Chefs Dispose of Used Cooking Oil?
Home chefs lack the industrial equipment of a restaurant, such as a grease trap, but can still find safe and effective ways to remove used cooking oil from their home. In some cases, it doesn’t even need to be thrown away, as oil that’s used for deep frying can be re-used and cleaned.
You can also save bacon grease and other leftover fats for later use. Bacon fat makes an excellent frying medium for eggs and grilled cheese sandwiches, among others. If you’re planning on storing your leftover grease for later use, make sure to let it cool slightly first. Then pour it through a cheesecloth or coffee filter to remove any solid particulates. A fine-mesh strainer also works.
If your re-used cooking oils have seen their last use, you will need to throw it away. The best way to get rid of FOGs is to again let it cool. Then pour it into a container that can be secured and thrown away. Deli or takeout containers can be used here, too, but they should be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap to help ensure no oils leak out.
How Should Restaurants Or Industrial Kitchens Dispose of Used Cooking Oil?
Many restaurants and industrial kitchens use grease traps to help capture their used oil. Grease traps prevent FOGs from entering the sewer lines. Restaurants can then dispose of the oil safely themselves or hire a trap services company to take away the grease trap’s contents regularly.
It should be noted that grease trap maintenance is essential. By engaging in regular grease trap cleaning, you can help FOGs from overflowing and clogging your restaurant’s or kitchen’s sewer pipes. Cleaning and maintenance help you avoid pricey plumber bills and makes for a better experience for your customers, as overflowing grease traps do not give off a welcoming smell.
The definition of “regular” here will vary depending on the size of the grease trap. Generally, most cities and utilities recommend conducting enough cleaning to keep the trap less than 25 percent filled. Some localities set a specific, minimum number of cleanings per year.
What Are Other Ways of Disposing Used Cooking Oil?
Ace Grease offers superior used cooking oil pickup services for restaurants and industrial kitchens. We handle both interior and exterior grease containers. We can also provide you with durable storage containers free of charge, too.
Of course, the greatest benefit of our service is that we don’t just pick-up the used cooking oil. We also pay you for it, as we recycle then re-sell the oil.
If you’d like to make money from your used cooking oil, give us a call today. We can be reached at 800-473-2733.