Anyone who has been cooking for a while will agree that frying makes everything taste better. It is undoubtedly one of the easiest ways to fancy up any leftover food as well.
The only downside of frying food is the unaccounted calorie intake plus the mess left behind to clean up after eating.
Olive oil has emerged as a healthy option for frying or general use in cooking. However, it still does not solve the cleaning problem.
If only cleaning greasy pans was as convenient to clean as eating the food made in them, things would become a lot more hassle-free.
Why Must It Even Be A Hassle To Dispose Of Olive Oil?
It may seem like an easy task to clean up greasy pans or dispose of olive oil to some of us.
After all, one needs to rinse it in some hot water and let all the oily emulsion drain out.
Practically, this is an absolutely wrong way of cleaning a pan full of olive oil, as we will discuss ahead.
Why is it Important to Dispose of Olive Oil?
Olive oil must be dealt with the same way all vegetable oils are treated. If olive oil is not properly disposed of, it can lead to serious environmental waste concerns.
Olive oil, like all oils, does not dissolve in water and remains in suspension in water, forming an emulsion.
When this emulsion is drained out, the fat droplets in this emulsion cling to the walls of the pipes.
The pipes become very greasy over time. Greasy pipes are very susceptible to blockages and can lead to complicated plumbing issues.
If it is regular to drain out oil while washing dishes, sewage can build up in homes and food businesses.
This phenomenon promotes the growth of bacteria and many other harmful pathogens that can lead to health concerns.
Most drains, even in certain food businesses, are not equipped with grease management systems. This explains why pouring oil emulsions down the drain is not a good idea.
Everyone needs to understand the hazards of frequently pouring down oils in the drains and learn the proper way to dispose of oils like olive oil.
Also read: Can You Recycle Olive Oil Bottles?
What is the Proper Way of Disposing of Olive Oil?
The proper way of disposing of olive oil means that used olive oil is disposed of in a safe, efficient way, and does not harm the environment.
We have listed some very simple ways of disposing of olive oil. Each method is outlined in detail ahead.
Number 1 – Pack it Before Throwing in Garbage
As we have learned that pouring used oil down the drain is a bad idea, it leaves us with only one option: to dispose of oil in garbage like all other household waste.
However, you must not make the mistake of just letting oil freely float in the garbage can.
You must store it in a sealed container first. These containers can include old milk cartons, used plastic bottles, or take-out boxes.
Once you are done with the cooking, allow the oil to cool down before storing it in the containers mentioned above.
Make sure that the container you are using is not broken or leaky. Tightly close the containers before you finally put them in trash cans.
You should also avoid using plastic bags for storing used oil as they can easily break into the trash can.
Number 2 – Freeze the Used Oil (for Reuse in future)
If you are not comfortable with the idea of liquid in your trash can, then you can even freeze the oil. You can freeze the oil in the containers you wish to dispose of the oil in.
This method can be a little time-consuming as it takes about 24 hours for the oil to freeze and turn into a solid form completely.
Freezing is also a great way of preserving oil for future use. If the seal is not broken, you can store oil in the freezer for up to two years.
Number 3 – Nearby Restaurants can Aid in Proper Oil Disposal
Regular households are not equipped with proper oil disposal systems. Most restaurants have this system installed.
If you happen to know someone who owns a restaurant or lives near a restaurant, then get in touch with the restaurant’s management.
You can strike up a deal with them and go up to them weekly or monthly with your used stored oil. This ensures that your oil is getting disposed of in an eco-friendly way.
Number 4 – Dispose of it with Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)
There are household hazardous waste disposal companies that provide doorstep pick services for hazardous waste to be collected.
You can contact such companies and avail of their services for oil disposal as well as many other household hazardous waste like medical waste.
This is a very convenient option as it offers to take away the trash from your doorstep, and you do not have to go anywhere.
Number 5 – Install a Grease Disposal System
If you live in a shared household or use olive oil in large quantities for any reason, this has to be the most efficient option for you.
A grease disposal system works by installing a system kit that can easily hold up to 2 lbs of oil before it requires a change.
You will not have to go through the hassle of storing used oil in sealed containers.
Number 6 – Add it to Absorbent Waste
A solid form of olive oil is easier to dispose of than liquid. Freezing is one way of solidifying used oil, but it requires one to go through storing it first.
Mixing oil with absorbent waste like sawdust, flour, or cat litter allows you to skip the process of storing.
Can You Reuse and Recycle Olive Oil?
Now that we have covered how to dispose of olive oil using different methods let’s consider alternative solutions.
The good news is you can repurpose and reuse used olive oil instead of disposing of it.
There are various ways how one can recycle or reuse olive oil. Let’sLet’s look at the most common ones:
Number 1 – Freeze and Reuse Later
If you have leftover olive oil after cooking and you do not want it to go to waste, you can freeze it and use it later.
Freezing olive oil creates less mess and makes it easier to reuse it. You can store olive oil in an old ice cube or place it inside a zip lock back and save it.
Now you only have to take out a few frozen blocks of olive oil and reheat it when required.
Number 2 – Use Olive Oil as an Insect Repellant
It is common to see garden ants and other insects attacking your fresh and healthy plants. If you wish to get rid of these insects and pests, olive oil can do the trick.
Pour your used olive oil into a spray bottle and lightly spritz it over the stems and scales of your plants.
All pests and insects will naturally steer away now, keeping your plants safe and protected.
You can also mix your used olive oil with some liquid dish wash to create a more effective pest repellant spray.
Alternatively, you can add water to your used olive oil to dilute it and make a milder version of insecticide.
Number 3 – Add Olive Oil to Compost
Olive oil is rich; hence it can be added to your compost to increase the richness of the soil.
Moreover, garden worms like feeding in olive oil and fatty products; therefore, adding olive oil to your compost is a great option.
In addition to this, olive oil can also help get rid of weeds growing up in between your plants.
Weeds issue is a pain point for most gardeners, so just a few sprays of olive oil are needed to kill all unwanted weeds sprouting out in your garden.
Number 4 – Convert Olive Oil into Biodiesel
Yes, it is 100% accurate. You can convert used olive oil and use it as biodiesel for your vehicles.
Using olive oil as biodiesel is safe for the environment and helps counter global warming in the longer run.
However, ideally, you will require large quantities of olive oil to convert it into biodiesel.
Moreover, this step will be carried by oil recycling companies so you can donate or sell off your used olive oil to them.
Number 5 – Use Olive Oil as a Waste Absorbent
Do not waste olive oil by discarding it in the trash. Another great way of recycling your used olive oil is by using it as an absorbent for waste materials.
Suppose you have large quantities of solid waste items like sand, sawdust, cat litter, flour. Etc, you can use olive oil to absorb and effectively clean the surface.
This is a mess-free method of cleaning small solid waste particles that may be a nuisance otherwise.
Number 6 – Use Olive Oil to make Soaps
If you have already tried all the above recycling methods for using olive oil, this one could be your last resort. It could also turn into a part-time hobby if you get the hang of it.
Soap-making is trending these days, and a lot of people have started doing it at home.
If you are one of these people, you can utilize your leftover olive oil and turn it into an organic soap.
Make sure you follow all the safety guidelines while working with soap ingredients and refer to a professional tutorial before attempting it at home.
The Bottom Line
We hope this guide on ”How to dispose of olive oil” was an informative read for you.
The next time you have some leftover olive oil at hand, make sure to follow our tips for its safe disposal. You can also reuse and recycle your used olive oil, as we discussed above.
So, which option will you choose in the end? Please share your answers in the comments section below.
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