By Gail Sessoms

Disposal of used deep fryer oil requires some extra effort, as most local governments have rules prohibiting pouring of grease down drains (including garbage disposals). Inside the drain the oil thickens, causing clogs in pipes and sewers-- so it'd definitely not a smart wise choice. There are, however, other options, that involve a little bit of work-- but in the long run will save you from plumbing problems. These methods of disposal typically involve containment of the oil properly before disposal at a collection site.

Chef cooking dim sum in a deep fryer
credit: Fedor Kondratenko/iStock/Getty Images
Store used oil over time for disposal in larger amounts.

Removing Oil from the Deep Fryer

Unplug the deep fryer and wait until oil is fully cooled before handling the fryer or trying to remove the oil. Set up an area at the kitchen sink or, for larger deep fryers, an outdoor area. You will need a container and utensils for removing the oil from the fryer.

  • Use coffee cans, large glass jars, plastic juice cartons or any leak-proof container that will easily receive and hold the cooking oil. You can also reuse the the 3- or 5-gallon drum the oil came in.
  • Use a container with a lid if you need to transport the oil any amount of distance.
  • If the oil is liquefied, but safe to handle, you can pour it directly into a container. However, have a large scoop or cup on hand to remove thicker oil.
  • Next, head to a recycling collection site, keeping the container in a warm place so the oil remains in a liquid form. Recycling centers usually have large collection containers to deposit your oil.

Check local ordinances before throwing out used oil along with household garbage.If permitted, transfer the deep fryer oil into a well-sealed container for disposal alongside your household garbage. Avoid odors and messy garbage cans by preparing the cooking oil for immediate disposal, or refrigerate the container until you remove it from your home.

Municipal Household Waste Programs

You can also drop off your deep fryer oil at collection sites operated by local government agencies. Many municipal collection sites safely dispose of used cooking oil in landfills. Drop off containers of all sizes, of oil that you have accumulated over months. Check with your city or county public works, environmental protection, and household hazardous waste agencies for locations, rules and schedules. Some municipal sites operate year-round, while others are open quarterly or at special times of the year.

Recycling for Bio-fuel

You may also have the option of taking the oil to a recycling center that converts cooking oil into reusable bio-fuel. Local governments and communities operate cooking oil collection sites to reduce waste, protect the environment, create jobs, and increase revenue.

  • Cities and counties often designate specific collection sites for recycling.
  • Find out if oil recycling containers are placed at public sites in your community.
  • Check with recycle savvy friends or neighbors, to find out what types of cooking oils are accepted. Some will specify only vegetable oils or provide a comprehensive list of oils.

Be sure to do your research if you've got oil you plan to recycle.There are specific guidelines.For instance, you can reuse deep fryer oil several times, but don't allow the temperature to exceed 375 degrees Fahrenheit or the oil can become rancid. You can store a container of used cooking oil in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months before dropping it off at a recycling site.