Don’t be a turkey with your kitchen clean-up this holiday season. Improper disposal of fats, oils and grease rendered from turkey roasting and frying is a common mistake, and askHRgreen.org, the go-to resource for all things green in Hampton Roads, urges at-home chefs to collect and dispose of these drain-clogging substances properly.
“Don’t ever dispose of cooking oils and grease down the drain or garbage disposal. These substances can congeal and block pipes, causing sewer back-ups. Who wants that problem at a holiday gathering?” said Julia B. Hillegass, public information and community affairs administrator for the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, which oversees askHRgreen.org.
In addition, Hillegass says it’s just as bad to dump these substances in the yard.
“This is harmful to the environment when it rains and the oily residue runs off into the storm drain, reaching local waterways without treatment,” she said.
So what do you do with these greasy leftovers? askHRgreen.org recommends following these easy steps for safely disposing of used cooking oils:
Safe Disposal of Leftover Cooking Oils
• Locate an empty, heat-safe container, like a soup can. When the cooking oils have cooled, scrape these into your container, cover it securely, freeze it, and throw the hardened oils away with the trash.
• Mix the cooking oils with unscented kitty litter, sawdust or sand to solidify the oil. Dispose of it in the trash. Avoid scented or disinfectant types of kitty litter as they can react with the oil and cause a fire.
• If you have gallons of turkey-frying oils to dispose of, recycle the substances at your community’s transfer or recycling center. For a list of local fryer oil recycling locations visit www.askhrgreen.org/fryer-oil-recycling-locations/
• You can also store oil for later use. Oil can be kept for up to six months and reused for up to six hours of fry time. Strain the oil first, and then store in the freezer.
Hosts also should avoid depositing other oil-based foods down the drain and garbage disposal. No-no’s include fatty substances such as lards/shortening, butter/margarine, food scraps, dairy products, batter and icing, salad dressings and sauces. For more information on ways to keep your kitchen clean and green, visit askHRgreen.org and click on “Your Home” for info on fats, oils and grease disposal.