How to dispose of cooking fats at home

UK Home Improvement

How To Dispose Of Cooking Fats At Home

If you use a lot of cooking oils and fats in your kitchen at home you will understand the frustrations with trying to get rid of it after it’s been used. What do you do with the greasy horrible mess after you have finished with it? Do you pour it down the kitchen sink? Pour it directly into your kitchen bin?

Not disposing of used cooking oils in the correct manner can cost local authorities tens of thousands of pounds in clearing it up. It is responsible for blocking drains and sewer systems, worse still it can cause major environmental issues for wildlife and watercourses.

This article will highlight the issues with used cooking oil disposal and how homeowners can correctly and safely get rid of it.

Whatever you do, don’t pour it down your sink!

Disposing of used cooking oils incorrectly poses a major problem for water companies and councils who have to clean up the mess. Pouring them down your sink is the most common mistake households make when trying to get rid of them.

It can seriously affect your plumbing in your home. Over time if you continually pour it down the plughole it will build up within the waste pipes, lining the interior walls of the pipes and eventually blocking up completely. Huge lumps of fat and oil can sit in the U bend or “trap” clogging it up, the purpose of a water trap in your plumbing is to stop bad smells coming back up from the sewers stinking out your rooms. If this trap is blocked with fat, it will be causing bad smells all on its own!

If these fats and oils build up and cause a blockage, you may need to call out a plumber to help fix the problem for you, especially if you aren’t very DIY orientated yourself.

By pouring fats and oils down your sink they find their way into the sewer systems, you may think that small amounts may not make much of a difference, but if everybody on your street is doing the same it soon escalates into a bigger problem.

The accumulated fats and oils from many households can cause serious issues in the main sewers in a town or city. They act like a kind of “glue”; anything already in the sewer such as leaves, twigs, paper, rags etc… will be covered in this sticky substance and clump together. The slightly comical name for these clumps is “fat bergs”.

Other Items Causing Sewer Blockages

It’s not just cooking fats and oils causing headaches for local authorities, Sanitary products, kitchen roll, baby wipes, cotton buds and even used nappies tend to find their way into the sewers from households. This highlights the need for not only disposing of fats and oils correctly but also all of your household waste!

Does Pouring Boiling Water Down Your Sink Help?

A common thing people do is pour boiling water down their kitchen sinks in an attempt to clear a blockage. But does this even work? The short answer is no!

If you pour hot water down the kitchen sink or drain there will be a short term benefit for sure, however it will quickly solidify further down your pipes or even in the sewer system.

If you have a blocked sink, more often than not it is caused by fats and oils. The best thing a homeowner can do is remove the waste pipes from underneath the sink, scrape out all the congealed mess with a paper towel, use washing up liquid to break down the grease and bin the paper.

What Domestic Households Can Do

The best way to get rid of used cooking fats is to put it in your kitchen bin. Don’t just pour it in the bin on top of all the other rubbish that’s already in it though! (this can be quite messy). You should find a suitable container such as a jam jar or take away tub. Pour your hot oils into this container and reseal it up with the lid. This can then safely be thrown away without the risk of contaminating anything else.

With griddles and frying pans you should use a strip of kitchen paper, wiping as much of the oil & fat from their surfaces as possible. This can then be thrown away in the bin.

If you have a lot of used oils some local recycling centres have specific areas for used fats and oils.

Thames water has a scheme called “Bin it Don’t Block It” which is a great resource of information for homeowners if you would like to find out more about the effects of used cooking oils on the environment.


Disposing of used cooking oils in the home can be quite difficult, it’s tempting to pour it down the kitchen sink. However this can cause major issues with your plumbing and sink waste. It also has far reaching environmental effects, sewer systems can clog and if it finds itself into rivers and streams can cause problems for wildlife and plants. Always dispose of your used cooking oils responsibly, pour hot fats into a plastic container with a suitable lid and pop it in your household bin. If you have a lot of fats and oils to get rid of, specialist cooking oil recycling companies can help you get rid of it.


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