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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., November 14, 2011) –  Don’t be a turkey with your holiday kitchen clean up this season. Improper disposal of fats, oils and grease rendered from turkey roasting and frying is a common mistake, and HR Green, an environmental initiative of the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC), 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, HRPDC public information and community affairs administrator.

In addition, Hillegass says it’s just as bad to dump these substances in your 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? HR Green recommends residents follow these easy steps for safely disposing of used cooking oils:

Safe Disposal of Leftover Cooking Oils

• Locate a plastic or glass container with a tight lid. When the cooking oils have cooled, scrape these into your container, 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 HR Green

With a focus on simple steps residents can take to find their “inner green,” HR Green is a region-wide public awareness campaign of the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission and the 16 cities and counties it serves. The campaign is centered around, a central, go-to resource for everything green in Hampton Roads. Site features include pages with easy-to-use green practices to implement in your home, yard, business, community and classroom, an interactive calendar highlighting regional events and the “Let’s Talk Green” blog, written by a team of local experts who work in the region’s municipal utility and environmental divisions.