What to Do With Old Oil? Three Surprising Repurposeful Ways

What to Do With Old Oil? Three Surprising Repurposeful Ways

Your old oil never belongs to the drain. You heard us right!

If your practice is to throw away your old oil down that sink, then you're up for a faulty sewer system in the years to come. Jennifer Welsh in 2014 reported that grease on the drainage is one of the big causes of overflowing sewers in the US alone.

You see, it is harmful as it is destructive. It is also a waste of household resources because with this post you will learn what to do with old oil. These few points are amazing that even the gritty parts of maintaining your garden or car can be resolved with oil.

1. Reuse for Next Cooking

It is used or old cooking oil that is clean enough to be reused for cooking your next meal. Some even argued that old oil reused for cooking can add taste and essence to the new dish. The flavor of the dish (say meat or vegetables) seeps and combines with the oil, thus adding aroma and taste to the oil. Cooking with it can augment how the next entrée.

A good recipe to use that excess old oil is the base of any dish with tomato sauce. When you intend on having pasta for dinner, don’t forget to grab your old oil to serve as the base of your tomato sauce as this thickens flavor and aroma from the previously fried dish you made.

The old oil is also has a good use when sauteing your green vegetables. Thus, if part of your weekly meal plan to have vegetables, you can use your old oil to cook the veggies. The recipe can still have a meat flavored vegetable dish. Yum!

But, storing and reusing old oil is not as easy as transferring it to another container. You need to be careful in stashing the oil on your kitchen cabinets. Here are some ways to help you store a usable old oil:

  • After cooling the oil down (for your safety!), strain it using a strainer with small holes, so even the tiniest bits of that fried meat cannot leak through. These bits are easily burnt which causes a bitter taste when used for the next dish.
  • You have to remember that it is advisable to use oil with high breaking point and use low to medium heat when cooking to ensure that it does not break down.
  • Now, you are ready to transfer it to a glass container. Place it in an area with room temperature.

2. Recycling to Make Biodiesel

Did the word ‘biodiesel’ get your attention? Or was it recycling? Nonetheless, yes, cooking oil can be transformed into biodiesel to power other machines and equipment.

We know that majority of the household do not have the right machine or technology to transform old oil. But, there are communities which have recycling areas, where you can deposit old oil for them to recycle. We’ll share with you what you can do on your part and what happens after.

In North Carolina, specifically in Newland, the community has recycling bins for citizens to pour down their old cooking oil. 

From your kitchen, cool you just have to ensure that the oil has cooled down and placed in a container with a lid. Then find the nearest bin in your area. Basically, you can follow the storing process provided above, but instead of storing, you should deliver it to the recycle bins.

You can contact local authorities to help you find bins and for specific instructions.

Now the question is how can cooking oil be transformed into biodiesel? It involves a whole chemical process of breaking and converting chemicals. Rob Elam from the Make: simplified the process in saying that the old cooking oil is converted into biodiesel and glycerin. You can now separate the glycerin from the biodiesel is the only element left.

The separated biodiesel is now ready to be used for fuel and power a vehicle’s engine. As simple as it sounds, the conversion process involves a more complex work. The one presented above is a simplified explanation.

There is a homemade process of converting cooking oil into biodiesel, but it is another story to tell. One thing is certain such process involves a lot of chemical mixing.

3. Other Ways To Reuse Oil, Not For Cooking

For Gardening

Old vegetable oil can be a very good element for composting in your garden. But an easier way to make use of old cooking oil is to brush it on your garden tools like shovels for easy cleaning. The oil keeps the dirt from sticking in your tools. Thus, you can simply wipe off or wash the dirt away.

As Car Tire Cleaner

Your old cooking oil can be a good help in the garage. With a dab of old cooking oil, wipe off the dirt on your tires easily. Huffington Post provides that it can even serve as a good coating to the tire so that dirt will not accumulate again.

When speaking of coating, this can also work well with your pots and pans. Once you’ve done all the cleaning and drying, you can brush a little oil to help with protection.

Additional tip: Dispose them (properly of course!)

When you don’t feel like reusing or recycling your used oil, you can dispose of the oil. But you should dispose it properly.

Initially, you need to cool the oil down. Let the oil cool in the pan or cookware up to room temperature. Yes, it is similar to the process of storing the old oil.

Once the oil has totally cooled down, transfer it to another container. For easy disposal, you should freeze the oil. This, in turn, freezes the oil or solidify it. Thus, it can be easily removed from the container once it has become solid. A pro tip never pours it down the drain, so you need to clean up the container with remaining or excess oil.

Once the oil becomes a solid material, it is ready now ready for disposal. We find it helpful to place the frozen oil with materials that can help absorb it. We found this method more convenient and less messy.

Finally, throw it in the proper bin.

Final Thought

Oil in itself is a very versatile product that even after it has been used, it can be reused and recycled to produce a more usable product. For the culinary, old oil can again be used for cooking, which can even enhance the flavor. 

It can likewise be used to clean car parts and garden tools for the car and gardening enthusiasts. It’s amazing character is sealed when it is capable of transforming into a more useful and valuable product as biodiesel. You now have a purposeful contribution to your community.

What do you think of the post? Did you learn something new and surprising? If you have other meaningful ways to repurpose your old oil, let us know!

References

[1] The Spruce: https://www.thespruce.com/how-do-i-dispose-of-used-cooking-oil-908995

[2] Fix: https://www.fix.com/blog/what-to-do-with-used-cooking-grease/

[3] Epicurious: http://www.epicurious.com/expert-advice/you-can-reuse-frying-oil-article

[4] Bon Appetit: http://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/how-to/article/leftover-frying-oil

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