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Don’t be a Turkey When Cooking this Holiday Season

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Tips for properly disposing of fats, oils and grease

(Hampton Roads, Va., Nov. 2, 2012) – 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, 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

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? 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

• 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.

• To download a turkey frying fact sheet, visit

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 and click on “Your Home” for info on fats, oils and grease disposal.


About the HRPDC and is your go-to resource for all things green in Hampton Roads— from recycling tips and pointers for keeping local waterways clean to water-saving ideas and simple steps to make local living easy on the environment. Launched in 2011, the region-wide public awareness and education campaign is administered through the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission and powered by the following members: The cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg; the counties of Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City, Southampton, Surry and York; and HRSD. Like on facebook, follow on Twitter, tune in to YouTube and catch the “Let’s Talk Green” blog, written by a team of local experts.


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