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Make Your Kitchen a Grease-Free Zone this Holiday

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Make Your Kitchen a Grease-Free Zone this Holiday
Keep cooking fats, oils, grease out of the garbage disposal!

(Hampton Roads, Va., Nov. 21, 2013) – Ah, the holidays! A time for family gatherings, turkey with all the trimmings, a cup of eggnog or two—and fat-free kitchen drains. At least, that’s how the folks at see it. The go-to source for all things green in Hampton Roads is challenging every home chef to make their kitchen a grease-free zone this season by keeping cooking fats, oils, grease and food scraps where they belong—away from the drain and garbage disposal and in the trash can or compost pile.

“The garbage disposal isn’t a rubbish bin, so don’t treat it like one,” said Julia B. Hillegass, team leader. “Leftover potato peels, cake batter, salad dressings and other chunky or oily ingredients belong in the trash. If washed down the drain or garbage disposal, they cling to your kitchen pipes and can cause a back-up in your sink or an expensive call from the plumber.”

Why tempt fate, says Hillegass. Instead, conscientious cooks should:

  • Throw food scraps in the trash or compost them
  • Use a paper towel to wipe away residue from serving dishes and plates
  • Then rinse these items over a sink strainer to catch and dispose of any remaining food particles

As for standing grease left over from cooking bacon and other fried foods, use a heat-safe can to store the grease. Then pop it in the freezer to cool and harden, and toss the can out with the garbage. If you’re planning to deep-fry a turkey, put the used fryer oil back in its original container and drop it off at your local city or county recycling/household hazardous waste center to be recycled.

When the garbage disposal was first introduced to consumers in the 1940s, the intent wasn’t for the appliance to be a catch-all for large food scraps, leftovers and whatever was lying about the kitchen. It was to help prevent clogged drains by grinding up the tiny particles of food left in the sink after washing and rinsing the dishes. Over the years, as garbage disposals became ubiquitous, residents turned to them for disposing of larger food items—such as leftovers from meal prep, along with breakfast, lunch and dinner table scraps.

If you must use your garbage disposal, only use it as it was intended—for grinding up small food particles. Give those other scraps a second chance as nutrient-rich compost that will nourish the garden.
For more tips on keeping a clean, green home, visit

Fryer Oil Recycling Events Planned in Hampton, Newport News
Did you know that large quantities of cooking oils can be recycled? If you’re planning to deep-fry a turkey, put the used fryer oil back in its original container and drop it off at your local city or county recycling/household hazardous waste center. To help residents toward this effort, he cities of Hampton and Newport News are holding Fryer Oil Recycling Events after the Thanksgiving holiday on Saturday, Nov. 30 at the following locations:

  • Hampton—10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the corner of Pine Chapel & Power Plant Pkwy.
  • Newport News—8 a.m. to 4 p.m. the compost facility at 550 Atkins Way (beginning Nov. 30, Newport News residents may drop off Mon-Sat any time of year!)

About 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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