How do you dispose of your cooking grease?

November 13, 2019

We don't make bacon but really pour a ton of fat off of ground meat on a regular basis. I've been just pouring it down the drain but recently got schooled by my mom on that. She said to use a big coffee can (we don't drink coffee) and throw it out when it gets full.

How do you dispose of your cooking grease?

Comments (70)

  • jalarse

    I keep a small can in the freezer. Pour grease into it and back to the freezer. When full it goes to the trash on the day of pickup, still frozen.

  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

    If it's from organic meat, I often save it to use for other cooking - chicken fat makes yummy biscuits - otherwise it goes in the trash. Our local utility has been very clear about not pouring it down the drain.

    Putting meat drippings out in my yard here would not be a good idea, since we have possums and rats.

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  • bragu_DSM 5

    I pour the grease into a soda bottle or container and pop into the freezer til garbage day...

  • mgs137

    @bpath reads banned books too I avoid putting perishable things into my trash compactor because we empty it so infrequently. (Food trash goes down the garbage disposal. Ideally, we'd have a compost pile, which is what I'm working towards). If I'm doing a lot of cooking with things that smell (i.e. plastic bags that had meat in them) and cannot go into my trash compactor, I often have a small trash bag to put that stuff into and bring it right out to the outside trash bin after cooking. I guess I never thought of pouring oil into that bag... but if it goes on top of other trash, it would be OK. I don't see why you couldn't do that.

  • eam44

    Bp, I use hefty bags. I just always assumed hot bacon grease would melt them. You’re assuming that trash will contain the grease, and if that’s been your experience, that’s great, but I mean, why risk it?

    We border on the obsessively clean in my family (my nephew just won a sticker for having the neatest cubby in his class). This renovation has made me more flexible in many ways, but I still contain my grease for disposal.

  • ediej1209 AL Zn 7

    bpath Oh Sophie, the reason I seal grease up is with there only being 2 of us sometimes it can be 2 or 3 days or more before the trash goes out and grease can stink!

  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

    Or there might be a hole. IME, grease/fats can leak out of the tiniest of holes in a trash bag and make a mess.

  • foodonastump

    I’m with you, bpath, I remember having a melt years ago in a new bag, so now I make sure there’s at least a little garbage to slow down the stream as it cools down and I’ve not had an issue since. Obviously larger quantities get addressed differently.

  • Zalco/bring back Sophie!

    eam44, I am stealing your foil cone. I either wait for the fat to solidify and wipe up with paper towels, or I pour it into some container that would normally have gone into he recycling bin.

  • dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m

    "--- Does it really help your garden if you mix it in the soil? And if so, why? ---"

    All I can tell you is that my garden is amazingly productive, no fertilizer used, just compost and kitchen scraps.

    "----Putting meat drippings out in my yard here would not be a good idea, since we have possums and rats.----"

    I bury all scraps deep. Never any critter problem.


  • annie1992

    Fat like bacon grease gets saved for future cooking. I also render my own lard for cooking/baking, and use that more than the bacon grease. That's fortunate because my 84 year old Mother only wants her eggs cooked in bacon grease, so she uses as much as I can supply her with, she always keeps a jar in the refrigerator and extra gets frozen. She also puts it in green beans and uses it to saute cabbage. Her only other "vice" seems to be an occasional bag of lightly salted Lays potato chips, and because she has no heart problems and weighs 100 pounds, her doctor says not to lecture her, so I don't.

    Any other "solid" fat gets mixed with sunflower seeds and frozen, to be used as chicken blocks during the winter, the extra fat and calories helps keep them warm in our Michigan winters.

    Like dcarch, I have a garden and a compost bin, so anything else goes into the compost bin where it becomes compost and greatly benefits my garden.


  • Buehl

    We save tuna and other cans for this...we pour the grease/fat into the can and let it cool on the counter. Then we put it in the freezer until it's frozen and throw it out in the trash the next time we take a bag out.

    We've found that it smells if we don't take it out immediately, so it stays in the freezer until we have a full trash bag to take out to the garage.

  • lizbeth-gardener

    I save tall cans and keep in my freezer just for this purpose. When it is full, it goes out frozen on trash day.

  • Lars

    Never down the drain, but then I cook so little fatty meat that I never have any left over. If I do, I save it for cooking and store it in the fridge. I especially like saving duck fat and using it for tamales or flour tortillas. I often use saved fat from chicken or turkey to make a roux, and then I make a sauce or gravy with that.

    Having had clogged pipes in the past, I am extremely careful with what I put down the drain. One of my best friends is a mechanical engineer, and he designs sewers for the city of Los Angeles. He told me to put as little down the drain as possible, including fats and oils. It is also not advised to put pasta through the garbage disposal as well, although I have never had that inclination.

  • Islay Corbel

    Just a thought. Don't you recycle glass and cans in the US? If you fill them with fat, they can't be recycled.

  • lizbeth-gardener

    Yes, Islay, I recycle both, but it only takes one can for the grease and it takes a long time to fill one.

  • ritaweeda

    Grease is one of the worse things to put down the drain, especially for people with septic tanks like us. We save the cardboard ice cream cartons and pour it into that, then keep in the freezer until garbage day.

  • happy2b…gw

    Like some others, I mop up the cooled grease with paper twoels and throw in the garbage. I used to collect grease in a coffee can with a lid but I did not like keeping it under the sink for a long time.

  • localeater

    I keep mine in a lidded container under the sink until it is full, than I bring it to cooking grease recycling.

  • arkansas girl

    I keep a large tomato sauce can (like 28 oz) in the freezer on the door and when it's full of grease, I throw it away on trash day. I always have a few of these large cans hanging around that I keep for just this purpose.

    I am going to start using this solid grease for suet feeders though! Good idea! I've recently started buying suet feeders for the birds and they absolutely LOVE it!

  • Elizabeth

    I have very little fat to throw out except for the grease from DH's bacon. I let it cool and wipe it out with a paper towel. We only eat ground bison, elk or venisons. I often have to add olive oil to the pan.

  • Brad Smith

    If you're on a municipal sewer, and there's a grease clog causing problems in the main line, and they choose to scope it back to source(s), don't be surprised if some very unhappy bylaw officers show up on your doorstep with a very large fine.

    Google "fatburg" or "fatberg".

  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

    I've been composting as well - for many, many years. Possums and rats will dig up buried foodstuff here, and even have dug up containers and beds because they were apparently attracted by organic fertilizers and fish emulsion.

    And I use plastic yoghurt & dairy containers to put discarded fats in. Glass and metal get recycled.

  • functionthenlook

    Brad, I guess it depends on where you live. I've never read or received mail from our sewer authority complaining about grease in the lines or any kinds of fines. It would be hard for them to find the source with so many homes on a sewer line. I did read in our township newsletter that they don't like personal hygiene wipes flushed. But it is not illegal to do so. Restaurant I know can't dispose of grease down the drain.

  • dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m

    "----- 've been composting as well - for many, many years. Possums and rats will dig up buried foodstuff here, and even have dug up containers and beds because they were apparently attracted by organic fertilizers and fish emulsion. ---"

    I use a large bucket with a tight lid to store all kitchen scraps outside (no bears in my area, not yet). It stinks big time after many days when the lid is open. By that time the scraps are well decomposed. The critter don't seem to like scraps in that condition. As I said, I also bury the scraps very deep, 24"?

    With recycling paper, bottles, cans, and all kitchen scraps, I hardly have any trash to put out on the street. That little bit of trash in the trashcan inside the house does not smell because there is no food stuff in it.


  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

    I do the same with our garbage, dcarch - no food waste goes into our trash, and meat/bones waste goes directly into the outside bin.

  • Michelle misses Sophie

    Never, ever down the drain. That goes for ALL oils and greases, including those that remain liquid at room temperature like fryer oil. And coffee grounds. All should be disposed of as solid waste (or compost if appropriate.)

  • pennfire

    A husband on the local municipal authority has changed my grease disposal habits. Bacon fat is kept in a fat keeper in the fridge.

    At home - Cooking oil is cooled and either dumped in the trash with used paper towels/newspapers to soak it up or placed in a can or bottle that goes into regular trash.

    At the cottage - dumped at the edge of the yard, in the bushes because trash disposal in that location must be carefully managed.

    For anyone on a septic system, it is a very bad idea to introduce grease or oils into the tank.

  • chocolatebunny123

    We use paper towels like others do and toss them in the garbage, We have a lot of critters since our subdivision backs up to forest preserves and once had a raccoon rip apart an old coffee can full of grease (our fault though, we put the garbage out the night before). Now we don't generally buy the big cans of coffee so we use the paper towel method and don't put the garbage out until the morning of garbage day.

  • morz8

    I have a bacon fat keeper in the fridge. I don't have many other meats that I cook that produce a lot of fat. I can't remember the last time I bought ground beef with a high enough fat content it required draining. I really don't deep fry. Any little bit of fat I have gets wiped from the cookware with paper towels and put into the garbage. Kitchen can goes out nightly, outside can picked up once a week.

    DH does accumulate some fat in the drip pan to the gas grill. He lines the pan in double sheets foil, folds those up and they go into the garbage too (outside).

    Neither of us puts grease down the drain. Not only for the health of our own pipes, but those of the waste water treatment plant too.

  • Kendrah

    So many replies! Thanks all for your advice. I think I will keep pouring it into a little ramekin as we usually do but instead of then pouring it down the drain I will let it cool and either wipe it up with a paper towel and pitch it in the trash or pour it into some kind of container in the freezer and take it out on trash night.

  • Bevthebrit

    Use bread!!! If cooking ground beef, use the crusts or ends to sop it up then, in the trash. Never down the sink.

  • jmm1837

    I use olive oil, canola oil and sesame oil in cooking, but seldom end up with more grease than can be handled by a paper towel. Most things I cook are pretty light on the oils - stir fries or oven fries as opposed to deep fries, etc.For things like lamb shanks, I scoop off the layer of oil, let it congeal, and put it into the trash. We don't eat much bacon, so we don't bother saving the grease.


    some kind of big jar or bottle, funnel it in, when full put out with the trash

  • annie1992

    Carol, I have a very big advantage, my compost "bin" is at the farm, right next to the manure pile. Any creatures want to get into that, they are more than welcome, LOL. The feral cats and the coyotes manage to keep the vermin down, I guess, since I don't have a problem with that, only with an occasional bear. Since it's at the farm, they are also welcome to it.


  • eam44

    Zalco, my sister has a woman who helps her clean and she was there one morning when I was making bacon for my nephews. She saw me do this. She loved it and uses the same method now too. I was sincerely flattered, then and now!

  • yeonassky

    I let it cool to room temperature and then pour it before it congeals into a plastic bag which I then store in the freezer and fill up. Then it goes in the trash on garbage pickup day. We do have composting picked up as well but they say no grease for some reason.

    We only get garbage pickup once every two weeks so that's why I do it this way. I did use to compost as Dcarch does and had great friable soil but my garden isn't big enough anymore. Plus there are more critters around here than at my older place.

  • sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

    We might have a 1/2 cup a year on a very odd day for whatever reason. We don't fry and never have. Goes in a recycled plastic clamshell I have a few of...from grocery misc produce. Bad habit of hoarding containers trying to find a use for them . We have never fried so no abundance of oil. Into the clamshell, the ones without holes, then birdseed. Into the fridge to solidify for the suet feeder. (so many woodpeckers seem to depend on us, lol. ) 5 minutes after stocking our suet feeder they are on it!

    And yes, we have a very good recycle center, but we try and give embarrassingly 'one-use' plastics many uses before going into that system.

    This past summer we used prosciutto... less fat, broiled, for BLT's. Crispy thin so no rendered fat at all.

  • Kendrah

    Our oil comes from consuming a lot of high quality grass fed ground beef. We usually cook up a package or two per week and then have it to add to pasta and rice throughout the week. It is pretty lean but my husband has to really watch his heart health so we strain off all the liquid and fat we can. We never deep fry or eat bacon.

  • Jasdip

    I'm another one who uses cat food cans to pour unwanted grease in. When cool/solid it goes in the trash. I had one on the counter yesterday. I do keep a small jar of bacon fat in the fridge.

    I have 2 cats who are very good about counter-surfing, OR very stealthy about it. Last night I heard a thump from someone jumping off of something. I didn't give it any thought, as they have spots up high where they like to be.

    This morning there was a bare patch in the grease can from licking!

  • salex

    I'm surprised how many comments are from people who know water quality/water treatment specialists! Count me among them. And I never, ever put fats down the drain. Maybe my pipes would be fine, and maybe the local water treatment police would never track the source of any future fatberg back to me, but I still pay taxes that fund water treatment (including new facilities/technologies when the previous ones aren't cutting it).

    Wherever your waste goes, putting fat or oils into it has an adverse effect - regardless of whether you see it or not. I won't assume that anyone will stop putting oil down the drain because it's bad for someone else, or somewhere else. However, in some cases, knowledge does change behavior.

  • Barb

    Into the trash, after it cools a bit. if I have a can or jar going into the trash, I put it in that first, then into the trash.

    I'm on septic, so I would never, ever pour grease of any kind down the drain

    40-ton 'fatberg' the size of a double-decker bus removed from London sewers

  • ShadyWillowFarm

    I just scrape the grease into th garbage with a spatula once it solidifies.

  • Stacey

    I pour grease/oil into a opened can with lid partially attached. Put in freezer then into garbage when we go to the dumps.

  • fillmoe

    I cool the grease and scrape it into our green composting bin. The trash collection company takes it to a commercial composting plant.

  • roy4me

    I pour it down gopher holes.

    Sometimes they relocate.

  • donna_in_sask

    If it's a large amount, I pour into glass jars (pickle or pasta sauce ones usually). For smaller amounts, I keep the bags that our coffee beans come in and use those...they are really thick and have a fold over twist tie thingy at the top that seals it all in.

  • foodonastump

    A water condition caused the backup, pushing human waste into about 300 homes in Jamaica, Queens, officials said.


    Officials have a culprit in mind: cooking grease that’s been poured down the drain.

    It tends to congeal into big masses that slow or stop the flow of sewage, leaving it no place to go but back up the pipes. In some places around the world , the grease balls have gotten so enormous they’ve been described as “fatbergs.”

    “This time of year we get a lot of grease blockages in sewers from residents that discharge grease," city environmental protection chief Vincent Sapienza told reporters. “We’re under the assumption that it’s that.”

  • caflowerluver

    We eat bacon about once a month at most. We let it cool then pour it into an empty clean yogurt cup than toss in the garbage can. I am thinking of trying the foil method in the future. We don't fry or cook much meat that creates lots of grease. We never pour it down the drain. We have a septic tank.

  • THOR, Son of ODIN

    Health Update: Saturated fats clog sewer pipes, not arteries.

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