Are you one of the many Americans who enjoy home-cooked fried chicken? Or perhaps you want to replicate Alex Guarnaschelli’s fried cannolis in your own kitchen? Fried food can be oh-so-delicious, but eventually you’re left with a big pot of used cooking oil. You can’t pour that oil down your drain because that’s a sure-fire way to block the pipes, so what do you do with it?
You can recycle cooking oil!
According to the National Renderer’s Association, approximately 4.4 billion pounds of used cooking oil is recycled each year to produce biodiesel and renewable diesel. While the majority of this material comes from restaurants, private consumers can recycle their used cooking oil, too.
It just takes a few easy steps!
- Make sure you allow your cooking oil to cool down before you attempt to pour it into a collection container. Hot oil can cause serious burns so extreme care is important.
- Find a clean, heat-resistant container to pour your used oil into. A large canning jar with a screw-top lid is ideal.
- Once full, bring your containers to a recycling center. Often, the recycling center may want you to pour the containers into a large collection vat rather than simply dropping off your containers.
Who will take my used cooking oil?
You can start your search by contacting your local city or county’s waste management collection site. Many have used cooking oil collection stations, or they will likely know where you can take it for recycling.
Another way to find a collection site for used cooking oil is to contact a biodiesel distributor in your area. For example, in Oregon, SeQuential is a widely recognized biodiesel manufacturer and distributor. They have information on their website about their recycling programs for used cooking oil, and several locations throughout the state where consumers can drop off used cooking oil.
Can any cooking oil be recycled?
Yes! Typically the only requirement for recycled cooking oil is that it shouldn’t be rancid. Common cooking oils that are collected include canola oil, corn oil, lard, olive oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, and vegetable oil.
How do they recycle used cooking oil?
Simply put, the used cooking oil has to be filtered to remove any impurities from the oil. Next, the composition must be altered in a process called “transesterification” so the oil has the correct viscosity for being used in a diesel engine. It’s a relatively simple process that not only keeps our environment clean but also helps to lessen our reliance on fossil fuel.
Want to learn more about biofuels and other forms of alternative energy?
The Rogue Valley Clean Cities Coalition’s mission is enhancing the livability of the Rogue Valley. We promote and educate on alternate fuels, seek to decrease dependency on petroleum, and promote clean air and water in the Rogue Valley via alternate fuels. Contact us today for more information!