Pouring waste cooking oil down the drain might seem harmless enough, but it causes no end of problems, both environmentally and financially. Not only can it have a negative impact on wildlife, but it can also increase the amount that’s sent to landfill, increase air pollution and block sewage systems across the country.
The best thing to do to mitigate all of the aforementioned is to stop pouring used cooking oil down the drain. You should also refrain from putting it in the bin, where possible. Instead, you should store it up in suitable containers and call Cater Oils to come and collect and recycle it for you.
We’re pleased to offer a free waste cooking oil collection service. In almost all cases, we’ll pay you for giving us your used cooking oil, either by way of cash or credit against our cooking oil supply services. Lower your own carbon footprint and enjoy a cash injection when choosing to recycle your used cooking oil with us here at Cater Oils.
So why else should you recycle your cooking oil, aside from limiting your negative impact on the environment and receiving monetary rewards?
Recycling cooking oil protects the wildlife & ecosystems
When used cooking oil is poured down the drain, it hits cold pipes and then solidifies, creating hard, sticky masses that block drains and sewers. Other types of debris can collect at the site of the blockage, such as wipes, tissues, nappies and sanitary products, thus making the problem even worse. Over time, this produces what has come to be known as a fat berg.
Not only will fat bergs cause overflows and sewer damage, but if a sewer floods into the wrong places, it can kill ecosystems, wildlife and plant life. As well as this, it’ll contaminate the soil underneath, thus preventing further growth.
Cater Oils recycle used cooking oil into biodiesel, a form of renewable energy
When choosing Cater Oils to take your used cooking oil away, we’ll recycle it into biodiesel. For every litre of waste cooking oil that’s collected and processed, one litre of biodiesel is produced. This can then be used to fuel vehicles, for example, across the community. This means that, not only will you be keeping your carbon footprint to a minimum, but you’ll also be helping Cater Oils to keep ours as low as possible as well as that of the community.
Biodiesel is a form of renewable energy that’s generated at dedicated plants such as Greenergy. According to our own website page; “Greenergy operates one of the UK’s largest biodiesel production plants in Immingham being capable of producing 300 million litres of biodiesel per year. Greenergy also operates its own petroleum and diesel distribution selling in excess of 20 million litres per day”.Where it’s important to note that Cater oils do not actually produce the biodiesel, “we are specialists at selling fresh cooking oils, collecting used cooking oils and refining used cooking oils into a pure used cooking oil product, ready to be turned into biodiesel at one of the UK’s leading biofuel plants such as Greenergy” – Cater Oils.
Recycling cooking oil can reduce air pollution
Carbon dioxide and particulates are flooding the atmosphere, causing a greenhouse effect. This is when the Earth is warmed unnaturally, thus disrupting natural climate patterns. Smog, for example, infuses rainwater which then has the potential to cause acid rain. In turn, this can have a negative impact on ecosystems and infrastructure alike and so it’s important that cases such as this are reduced or mitigated altogether.
Cater Oils’ biodiesel, when used, burns 74% fewer emissions than those produced by petroleum or conventional diesel. As well as this, Cater Oils’ biodiesel is produced locally, which helps to keep our carbon footprint to a minimum. We do not ship our biodiesel cross-country or send any of it overseas. In turn, less distance is travelled to distribute the fuel and fewer emissions are released upon use which subsequently reduces air pollution.
Recycling cooking oil mitigates sewage overflows & clogged drains
When lots of people pour their waste oil down the drain, it can cause a huge problem for councils and water companies, mainly because they can cause something called a ‘fat berg’. Essentially, the oil will harden and combine with everything else that’s been wrongly put down the drain, such as wipes, nappies and sanitary items.
There have been numerous cases across the country where these fat bergs have caused very expensive, problematic issues. In 2017, a huge fat berg was found under the streets of Whitechapel, London. Measuring 250 metres long and weighing a colossal 130 tonnes (nearly the same as weight as a blue whale), according to the BBC, it took a remarkable nine weeks to clear.
The find was considered so monumental that in 2018, the fat berg was removed and put on display at the Museum of London to “tell the story of the nine-week battle to remove the massive blockage and its journey from the Victorian sewers in Whitechapel to the sealed display case it now rests in” – BBC News.
In 2021, another fat berg was uncovered in Belfast, Ireland. It’s thought that the blockage was caused by “people pouring hot cooking fat and grease down the drain” according to the Belfast Telegraph. Since the discovery which caused widespread disruption, Belfast authorities have vowed to upgrade the existing sewer capacity to help prevent such issues in the future.
In 2015, a fat berg the length of a football pitch was found in Wales. The blockage affected three different streets and took five hours to clear, according to Sky News. Sky News interviewed Jacqueline Whitehead, Severn Trent’s customer and community lead for Welshpool, where the blockage was found.
In the interview, she said; “We certainly didn’t expect it to be as bad as it was. Our investigation showed that one sewer in particular, on Berriew Road, had been entirely blocked by a buildup of fat. And, when we tried to clear the blockage, we found that the entire sewer was blocked, for 120 metres! It took our teams five hours of constant work to clear it out and get it flowing properly again. If we hadn’t discovered it when we did, it would have eventually led to sewage backing up in the system and coming out where it could into people’s homes and gardens. As it was, the manholes were already overflowing”.
Sky News also said that Whitehead claimed the cause of the blockage was down to homeowners pouring cooking oil and fat down the drains which then hits cold pipes, cools and subsequently solidifies.
Liverpool also suffered the effects of a fat berg in the same year. The BBC reported that a 200-tonne fat berg was removed from a city sewer that had to be cleared by feeding a steel rope through the mass and then cutting it with a jet. The fat berg in question was said to cause issues on three different streets in the north of the city.
Since the removal of the fat berg, the Local Democracy Reporting Service installed a new liner to help prolong the life of the sewer and subsequently prevent the same issues happening in the future.
Recycling cooking oil reduces the amount of waste that’s sent to landfill
Where you might think that pouring your oil into a container and putting it in the bin is better than pouring it down the drain, it has negative effects on the environment elsewhere. However, you should still choose this option if you have no other choice so as to protect your drains and sewage system.
Cooking oil will still, eventually, harden and then attract rodents and bugs to the site – something a homeowner doesn’t want. But this problem can still occur at landfill and it’s harmful to the environment as a result.
Cooking oils takes a considerable amount of time to break down and foul smells will be omitted while it goes through that process, which could take years. This, in turn, reduces airflow to the rest of the landfill, which means it will take even longer for those materials to break down. Mitigate this problem altogether by simply calling Cater Oils to come and collect your used cooking oil.