Little amounts of oil can be disposed of easily, but what about the bottles of oil that have gone rancid or the larger amounts of cooking oil that were used for deep frying? Don’t put the oil down the drain — any drain — as it will stick to pipes and cause blockages. There are much better ways to put that oil to use. Here are some suggestions on how to recycle unwanted cooking oil.

You can use old oil in your garden. For an organic insect pest spray, mix one cup of your unwanted oil with a few tablespoons of Murphy’s oil soap or baby shampoo and add little warm water. If you add some garlic and/or hot pepper it will be an even better deterrent to future insect pests. Wash your sprayer clean with soap and hot water when done.

Another way to use your rancid or used cooking oil in the garden is to pour it into your compost heap. Only use a little at a time. Since it is a vegetable product it will decompose safely. But because of its viscosity, vegetable oil will be slow to break down so you don’t want to smother any parts of your compost pile by using too much at any one time. has three clever videos of ways to recycle your cooking oil. You can make metal candles, cool your computer and make a recycled lamp all with cooking oil. Just make sure your oil is clean without leftover pieces of food if you are recycling oil that has already been used for cooking rather than oil that is simply old or rancid.

Look around for centers that accept vegetable oils to convert to bio-diesel fuel. Some cities actually have programs in place to help collect oil for recycling. Why not put your disposable cooking oil to work?

Since there are so many good ways to recycle unwanted cooking oil, there’s no reason to add it to our trash heaps and dumps. For more information on how to recycle unwanted cooking oil — including links to those videos mentioned above — please check the list under Resources.