by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
If there's one kitchen waste product that nobody likes dealing with, it's the fat and oil left over from cooking. It might help you make amazingly tasty Sunday roasts but, if you don't dispose of it straight away, it starts to smell, it's horrible to look at, and then you have to find some way of getting rid of its nasty congealed greasiness. Which is probably why so many of us just end up tipping it straight down the sink.
The problem with doing that is, while it may be out of sight, it only stays out of mind for so long because once it's down there in your drain it cools and sets hard, and no amount of hot water and washing-up liquid will wash it away. Eventually enough fat deposits could build up to block your drain completely and because all the pipes in your home are connected, it's not just your sinks that will get backed up ...
With reports in the news of 40-meter 'fatbergs' clogging the sewers of the UK, and 44% of households experiencing a blocked pipe or drain in the past 5 years", it's not surprising that various water boards have launched initiatives to raise public awareness, such as Thames Water's Bin It, Don't Block It campaign. Remember: Your household pipes are only 10cm wide and even olive oil can clog a drain.
During World War Two – in Britain at least – people were encouraged, it was more or less demanded even, to collect all the kitchen grease, oil, drippings, etc., as it was used in the making of munitions. Don't ask me how it was used but it was collected and used. While we may not wish to encourage the making of munitions I am certain that there would be uses for it even today.
At Lakeland you can now purchase the so-called Absorb Bin designed to be capable of taking this fat and oil and making it easy to later dispose off it. Housed in a sleek white container, Absorb Bin's patent-pending, fat-trapping insert is made from a biodegradable material that soaks up used cooking oil and fat.
Once the oil has cooled a little, just pour it into the middle of the insert and the specially designed pattern will evenly disperse the liquid. As the insert is so super absorbent, it can be topped up with fat from several meals before being thrown safely into the bin at the end of the week.
While the Absorb Bin is not expensive and neither are the inserts there are other ways to collect and thus prevent such oil and fat getting into the drain.
What did the people in the war do to collect the oil and fat in order to hand it over to be used for munitions? It used to go into reused glass jar to be then collected for reprocessing.
It is also possible to, I am sure, use some sort of container, with a lid, and then use those pulp trays for drinking cups that are left around from fast food stores as liner to trap the oils and grease. An alternative to a DIY version would be to use some sort of small metal bucket – they can even be quite decorative – filled with some kitty litter. Should work.
With the above I am not trying to say don't buy an Absorb Bin. What I am saying is that we should have a look whether there are other ways to achieve the same result and maybe even ways of making use of the waste oil and grease rather than tossing it out. The important thing is not to pour it down the drain.