Is cooking oil biodegradable? (11 sources) 

The article will explain the biodegradability of cooking oil while also covering: 

  • Most common source(s)
  • Disposal methods 
  • Pouring on plants
  • Cooking oil bottles disposal methods 

Is cooking oil biodegradable?

Cooking oil is biodegradable if it is sourced from plant sources (which is the majority). The most common cooking oil is vegetable oil while other examples include canola oil, olive oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil et cetera. 

As regards disposal, the best options include reusing, recycling, composting and lastly, discarding in regular trash cans. There are certain precautions associated with each option. 

As regards the cooking oil bottles, it is best to recycle them as most cooking oil bottles are made from non-biodegradable materials such as plastics or aluminium.

What is the most common cooking oil? (11 sources) 

When it comes to cooking oil, there are many options that are available in the marketplace and preferred by the people. Therefore, it is essential to know the most common cooking oil so that the narrative may be built accordingly. 

When it comes to that, vegetable oil is the most common cooking oil. Other cooking oils may include:

  • Canola oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Sunflower oil 
  • Olive oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Corn oil 
  • Hemp seed oil 
  • Sesame oil
  • Peanut oil 

As it can be assessed from the examples, all these oils are sourced from nature and therefore, it is easy to say that their return back to nature (biodegradation) should also be possible. 

It is also stated that there may be an inclusion of synthetic materials such as Olestra synthetic fats. In that case, the oils would lose their biodegradability factors. 

What is the best way to dispose of oil?

Perhaps it is the most commonly asked question because everyone wonders about the best way to dispose of the oil. Some people feel tempted to pour it down the drain while others are enticed to feed the oil to the plants. 

However, the larger question is whether that can be done or not. Let us delve into some of the best ways to deal with and discard used cooking oil. 

Reuse it 

Yes, you read it right. One of the best ways to deal with used oil is not to actually discard it but to reuse it. However, there are certain precautions that you need to be mindful of. 

One is that you can not reuse cooking oil an infinite number of times. As per research, it is okay to reuse cooking oil up to four times. More than that, it is not really encouraged. 

Secondly, you need to ensure that your cooking oil is not adulterated or contaminated in any way (like being left in the open). 

If you plan to reuse cooking oil after a long time, perhaps it is best to freeze it in a covered container. There is absolutely no harm in doing it. 

Recycle it

It may sound absurd but it is actually possible to recycle used cooking oil. Now, you may wonder how I can recycle a liquid. 

Well, the catch here is that it is actually possible to convert used cooking oil such as vegetable oil into biofuel. Biofuel is an interesting concept which replaces the conventional source of fuel (fossil fuels, a non-renewable product). 

The funny thing here is that biofuels such as the one made from cooking oil actually cause less pollution if we compare them to their conventional counterparts. 

However, the tough part is that not every recycling centre will accept recycling used cooking oil. You will need to do some digging for that. For that, you may either look up the Earth911 recycling centre locator or depend on ventures such as Cease the Grease et cetera. 

The bottom line is that used cooking oils can definitely be recycled but recycling is not as easy-to-go as it may be in the case of paper cardboard products. 

Compost it

As cooking oils are made from naturally-sourced material, it is perfectly okay to add the cooking oil to the compost heap to provide a boost of organic material. However, be careful to not add great quantities as it can mess things up. 

Also, you need to ensure that there are no synthetic fats present because such fats will not degrade by microbes and may actually corrupt the composting process. 

However, there is a reservation here. Used cooking oil may attract pests and insects such as rats and racoons. Therefore, you need to be careful about this possibility. 

Disposal 

Although the disposal of used cooking oil is not encouraged given the context of so many other uses, if there is a life and death situation then there are certain points you need to have in mind while disposing of used cooking oil. 

  • Always allow the oil to cool first 
  • You may also freeze it in a sealed jar or container if you have time, will, and energy to do it
  • After cooling, pour the used cooking oil into a container and properly seal it 
  • Make sure that there is no chance of a spill or leakage
  • You may then discard the sealed box/container with regular waste 

Is it okay to pour used cooking oil on plants?

Yes, since most cooking oils are made from natural sources such as vegetable oil or coconut oil, it is okay to pour the used cooking oil on the plants. 

All it will do is act as an organic source which may improve the health and vitality of plants and lead to better growth, yield, and health. 

However, be careful not to pour too much used cooking oil as balance is the key. Unbalanced amounts will do more harm than good. For example, what do you think will happen if we eat too many multivitamins tabs in a day? The same will be the case for plants. 

What to do with the cooking oil bottles?

When it comes to cooking oil bottles, the answer varies on the type of material used. The most common materials are metals (aluminium) and plastics. 

In both cases, recycling and reusing are the best and most eco-friendly options available. You may either reuse or repurpose the cooking oil bottles or treat the empty bottles as recyclable waste and deal accordingly. 

It may also be commented that since both plastics and aluminium are not biodegradable, aluminium is better off in terms of recycling as it can be recycled infinitely. 

Conclusion

It is concluded that cooking oil is biodegradable if it is sourced from plant sources (which is the majority). The most common cooking oil is vegetable oil while other examples include canola oil, olive oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil et cetera. 

As regards disposal, the best options include reusing, recycling, composting and lastly, discarding in regular trash cans. There are certain precautions associated with each option. 

As regards the cooking oil bottles, it is best to recycle them as most cooking oil bottles are made from non-biodegradable materials such as plastics or aluminium. 

References

  • Elizabeth, Erin. (May 06, 2022). Common Types of Cooking Oil To Use in the Kitchen. Retrieved from: https://restaurantclicks.com/types-of-cooking-oil/
  • Rathore, V., Newalkar, B. L., & Badoni, R. P. (2016). Processing of vegetable oil for biofuel production through conventional and non-conventional routes. Energy for Sustainable Development, 31, 24-49.

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