Used Cooking Oil and Grease Disposal

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(KTSF by Jessie Liang)

Do you wonder what to do with your used oil and grease from your holiday feast? Some people say, “In the garbage.” “I’m actually recycling it.” “You know I usually take soap and water, and I just put it right down the drain.”

The spokesman for San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Biofuel Program Peter Gallotta says that even a little grease from the many homes in the City adds up to clogged sewers, and also pollutes the Bay. Gallotta says, “That costs the City of San Francisco about 3.5 million dollars a year in clogged sewers due to cooking oil being poured down the drain.”

The spokeswoman for the Department of San Jose Environmental Services Sandra Freitas says, “It will flow to nearby storm drains which will drain to the nearest creek and then will flow untreated to the San Francisco Bay.”

Each year the City of San Jose spends about $5 million to clean sewer pipes of grease and other debris in the system in order to prevent more overflows from occurring. During the holiday season, the City’s Environment Department encourages their residents to recycle used cooking oil at drop-off locations or stores.

To recycle cooking oil and grease, let it cool down, pour oil into a clean, non-breakable container with a tight lid. Gallotta also reminds, “Any food scraps or bits that are in their oil, just take a strainer and just run their cooking oil through it before they come to drop it off.”

San Francisco resident Scott Brandley demonstrates how to drop off used cooking oil. Brandley says, “I’ve got this used cooking oil that I pour off into a jar here with a nice tight fitting lid, so it won’t spill and plastic so ir won’t break…and we’re just going to stick it here in the bin to pick it up.”

Used cooking oil usually is recycled to make biodiesel. There are six used cooking oil drop-off sites in San Francisco including Rainbow Grocery, Whole Foods SOMA and Franklin stores, etc. In addtion to the permanent sites, people can drop off their used cooking oil at the special holiday sites in the City starting Friday, November 25. The locations include Costco and Whole Foods Potrero Store. Click here for more drop-off sites.

The City of San Jose will hold an used cooking oil and grease collection event on December 3 from 10 am to noon at Central Service Yard, 1661 Senter Road, San Jose. They offer free grease scraper and reusable shopping bag to all participants. The first 50 people will receive a free ticket to San Jose Downtown Ice.

To find used cooking oil drop-off sites near you, go to baywise.org for more information.

(Copyright 2011 KTSF. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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