how to dispose of cooking oil

Disposing of Used Cooking Oil

The incorrect disposal of used cooking oil can cost local councils thousands of pounds, blocking drains and causing environmental issues, many UK households fail to dispose of their used oil safely, for UK businesses in the food industry it is a legal requirement to handle waste cooking oil properly, failing to do so can result in lofty fines and in serious instances the forced closure of their businesses, resulting in prosecution or an enforced cessation of trading Food Safety Act (FSA) 1990.

Here at Cater Oils we are a fully registered used cooking oil waste handler, continue reading to understand how to dispose of cooking oil in the UK safely, legally and in an environmentally friendly way.

Waste Oil Collection

Do Not Pour It Down Your Sink!

This is the most common mistake domestic households make when disposing of used cooking oils, and can cause major headaches for councils and water companies who have to clean up the mess. Not only can it clog household waste pipes which may result in plumbers needing to be called out or awful smells from your sink, but it can also cause serious blockages in the sewer system, resulting in the infamous “fat bergs” forming and preventing the normal operation of sewers.

Not sure what a Fat Burg looks like… here’s a gross example of a 40 tonne Fat Berg courtesy of Thames Water’s twitter account, this colossus weighs the same as 3 London Buses.

Now, we know this is an extreme example, but left untreated these huge blockages will be more and more common.
Cater Oils are based in Surrey and an article from 2017 revealed that Chertsey is the Fat Berg capital of our county, read about it here.

Other common sewer blockages are caused by:

  • Sanitary products.
  • Kitchen roll.
  • Cleansing wipes.
  • Baby and facial wipes.
  • Nappies.
  • Cotton buds.

By pouring used cooking oils down the sink and your drains it can end up in rivers, lakes and streams which can have huge impacts on wildlife and the environment.

Fat Berg - Courtesy of Thames Water's Twitter Account.

Will Boiling Water Help?

The short answer is no, by pouring boiling hot water down your sink or drain you will see a short term benefit for blocked sinks, however all that happens is that it quickly solidifies again further down your drain or in the sewer on your street. If your sink is blocked by used cooking oils or fats the best thing you can do is remove the pipework from under your sink, wipe and remove any solidified oils with a kitchen towel and bin it.

What Domestic Households Can Do

Small amounts of cooking oils and fats can be placed in your household bin, provided its cooled down first, it is advised that if you are putting it in your bin that you transfer it to a sealable plastic container (take away tubs for example). This will contain the oil preventing it from leaking through the rest of your waste.

With frying pans it is advisable that you use a piece of kitchen towel and wipe as much of the oil & fat from the pan as you can. This kitchen towel can then be disposed of in your bin.

If you have a larger amount of cooking oil, we can collect it for FREE (minimum quantities apply), however this service is primarily aimed at the food industry rather than domestic customers (household oil waste is generally very low volume).

Your local recycling centre may accept used cooking oils and allow you to dispose of larger quantities.

For further information on how to dispose of used cooking oil in your household Thames Water have introduced the “Bin It Don’t Block It” scheme, read more about the scheme here.

What About Businesses?

For businesses it’s not quite as simple as disposing of used cooking oils in their bins, there are various legal responsibilities that the food and catering industry have to adhere to.

Cater Oils are fully registered with the Environment Agency for the collection and disposal of used cooking oils, we can help make sure your business is staying legal!
We also hold RedCert certification, ensuring all the used cooking oil we collect is of sustainable origin.
Environment Agency Logo

Food Safety Act 1990.

The FSA 1990 lays out guidelines from the Food Standards Agency on how to handle and dispose of used cooking oils, businesses need to adhere to these guidelines. Local authorities can inspect your premises and if they determine that the guidance laid out by the FSA 1990 is being breached they have the power to fine or even shut businesses down.

An article from 2016 shows how serious breaking these guidelines can be where a Cafe was fined £5000 for blocking the local sewers because they didn’t dispose of their used cooking oils correctly.

Read the article here.

Food Standards Agency Logo

Storing Your Used Cooking Oil Legally.

There are also requirements for businesses to store used cooking oils correctly on site until a registered waste carrier can collect them.

Businesses producing waste cooking oil need to ensure that there is a designated storage tank, that no oil can spill from the storage containers and must be collected by a registered waste oil handling company (like us).

Incorrect storage of used cooking oils on your premises can cause bad smells and contravene food hygiene standards.

We Pay You To Take Your Used Cooking Oil!

As part of our service when collecting your used cooking oil we actually pay you to take it away! This oil is then recycled into biofuels.

Finding A Registered Waste Carrier.

With regards to the disposal and collection of used cooking oils, it is the producer of the waste cooking oil’s responsibility to find and use a Environment Agency Registered waste cooking oil disposal company. This is a legal requirement and must be adhered to.

Once you have found a reputable waste carrier they are legally required to provide you with a “waste transfer note” to help track and trace waste oil from the company producing the waste through to the companies recycling that waste.

Businesses are also legally required to keep records of all waste oil collections for a minimum of 6 years.

What Are The Reasons To Recycle Used Cooking Oils Correctly?

With recycling being of the utmost importance, from plastics, paper through to used cooking oils, we all have a responsibility to ensure we recycle where we can!
The main reasons for recycling your used cooking oils are:

Staying Legal – As discussed previously, as a business you simply cannot afford to flaunt the rules when it comes to disposing of your used cooking oils. Businesses have a legal requirement to dispose of them correctly, and if they can be recycled then that is a bonus.

Biofuels – Used cooking oils can be recycled into biofuels such as biodiesel. For every litre of used cooking oil we collect 1 litre of biodiesel can be produced. These are alternatives to traditional fossil fuel diesel. In Fact the original design of the Diesel engine was intended to run on recycled cooking oil…

Biodiesel is a renewable energy source and is becoming more and more popular, it is cleaner when burnt and much better for the environment.

The Environment – The impact of burning and depleting our supplies of fossil fuels has been well documented over the years, by recycling used cooking oils into fuel we are helping to build a sustainable energy source, for further information on the environmental impacts associated with recycling food waste in general please visit The Association For Renewable Energy and Clean Technology website

Our Process For Collecting Used Cooking Oils.

As an Environment Agency registered waste cooking oil carrier we are trusted to dispose and recycle used cooking oils correctly and professionally.

Our process is simple:
Step 1 – You Make an enquiry, via phone or our contact form. You can book a FREE waste cooking oil collection here.

Step 2 – Our friendly team will contact you to arrange the collection of your used cooking oil to suit you.

Step 3 – We will come to your premises and safely collect your waste oils, whether they are stored in 20L Cans, 60L – 200L Barrels, 1000L IBCs or Bulk Storage Tanks.

Step 4 – Once we have safely collected your oil we will issue you with a “Waste Transfer Note”, making sure your legal requirements are met.

Step 5 – We will arrange for the used cooking oils to be recycled into BioDiesel by the UK’s leading BioFuel recycling companies, ensuring together we are fulfilling our environmental responsibility

Contact Us To Arrange A FREE Collection.

If you are a business and looking for a registered waste carrier to collect your used cooking oils, please fill out our FREE Collection form.