Fats, Oils and Grease Disposal & Recycling FAQ

Why shouldn't I just pour used cooking oil down the drain?

Cooking oil and grease poured down drains can build up in pipes causing backups at home, into streets and the storm drain system. Proper disposal of your cooking oil and other greases and fats will help prevent a sewage backup in your home. Overflows can pose health and environmental hazards, polluting local creeks and San Francisco Bay.

What about using my garbage disposal, hot water or detergent to wash grease down the drain?

These methods won’t prevent grease from building up in sewer pipes. Home garbage disposals do not remove grease from the plumbing system. Hot water will cool down in pipes causing fats and grease to coagulate. Detergents that claim to dissolve grease may cause blockages to occur further down the pipeline.

May I throw cooking oil in the trash?

Small amounts of oil can be placed in tightly sealed, unbreakable containers in the trash. It is not recommended to dispose of large amounts in trash as containers may leak, causing problems with garbage trucks and at solid waste facilities. For more information about avoiding clogs, see our residential fats, oils and grease brochure.

How can I recycle cooking oil?

Bring it to an EBMUD residential cooking oil and grease drop-off location! Registered transporters pick up the cooking oil and grease so it can be recycled into livestock feed or into biodiesel, a cleaner-burning alternative fuel for diesel automobiles and trucks.

What should I do with small amounts of fats, oil and grease?

Scrape excess food waste from pots and pans into the garbage or kitchen scrap recycling bin (where available) after cooking. Wipe pots, pans and cookware “clean” with a disposable towel prior to washing. You can dispose of small amounts of fats, oil and grease in tightly sealed containers in the trash, or save it in a re-sealable container and bring it to an EBMUD residential cooking oil and grease drop-off location.

May I recycle motor oil, too?

Please do NOT combine motor oil or other automotive waste with cooking oil and grease. Motor oil will contaminate cooking oil and grease and then it cannot be recycled. Keep automotive waste separate from cooking fats. Some EBMUD residential cooking oil and grease drop-off locations will also take automotive wastes separately. Links to their websites provide details on what these centers can accept.

I own a restaurant, may I bring my used commercial kitchen cooking oil and grease, too?

No, this is a residential service. Restaurants in the EBMUD wastewater service area may contact a grease hauler for assistance.

For more information on residential pollution prevention, contact CleanBay@ebmud.com or (510) 287-1651.