The garbage disposal is a wonderful invention, but did you know some food waste is not meant to go down your kitchen drain? Fat, oil, and grease (FOG) should all be kept out of drains and disposed of properly. Although FOG starts off as a liquid, it doesn’t necessarily stay that way. Once they cool they often thicken and this has a number of side effects, from causing clogs in pipes and sewer systems to contaminating our water source.
Most cities have water reclamation guidelines to help residents dispose of FOG properly. Many of them request that all fat, oil, and grease be thrown away instead of washed down the sink. After cooking, simply pour the excess FOG into a jar and toss it into the trash. Don’t have an empty jar? A tin can filled with paper towels or newspaper works just as well.
If you’re feeling super resourceful, try reusing the oil! Most fats and oils are reusable at least once more as long as they are kept refrigerated between uses. Reusing your oil may sound strange, but many chefs reuse oils at home. In fact, my grandma did this with bacon fat. Not only was it a money and time saver, it was also delicious!
Simply use cheesecloth to strain grits in the fat and then store the rest in the fridge. The grease can then be used in place of oil when frying or sautéing dishes and a quick search online will yield lots of yummy recipes posted by resourceful cooks.
Here at Zappos HQ, the cooks in our Zappos Bistro keep the fryer oil out of the drain by recycling it with a local Las Vegas company. In 2014, our kitchen recycled more than 5,500 pounds of yellow grease and fryer oil. That’s 2.75 tons!
So, the next time you find yourself with any excess FOG, remember, save it in the fridge or toss it in the trash, but please don’t pour it down the drain!
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