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Jun 15, 2008 12:58 PM

Disposal of "off" or rancid oil

I rarely use canola oil for cooking, but was going to brown some beef short ribs in a large stockpot before putting them into the crockpot this morning. Before pouring a couple of Tbsp. of the oil into the stockpot, I took a whiff - yup, it's definitely turned. I buy the smallest possible bottle (1 pt., 8 oz.) but I still don't use it fast enough before it goes bad. (Next time, I'm going to store it in the fridge to see if that'll keep it better longer - or split a bottle with my mother, who doesn't use a lot of it either.)

But in any case - I know I shouldn't pour it down the kitchen drain or in the toilet. I'd like to recycle the plastic bottle, but based on what various sites say, including Wikipedia, "...The proper way to dispose of oil is to put it in a sealed non-recyclable container and discard it with regular garbage."

What kind of "non-recyclable container" could be used? Anthing that I've thought I might use (i.e., a used sour cream container) is also recyclable.

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  1. Waxed-cardboard milk/cream containers - the ones with the screw cap in the middle. I also use these (tops opened up) in winter to make giant nut-seed-peanut butter ice cubes to put out for the squirrels; it slows them down so they have less time to raid the bird feeders. Truth be told, although I am a dedicated recycler, I put empty bottles in the trash if I am unable to adequately wash all the residue out of them, which with oil and detergent bottles is often the case. I don't know what's worse - the landfill or gallons of water from repeated washing/rinsing.

    1 Reply
    1. re: greygarious

      Those milk/half-and-half cartons are also recyclable in my area, so that doesn't work for me.

      As for washing out any remaining drops of oil from glass or plastic bottles of oil - I just upend the bottle over what I'm pouring it into and within a few minutes, almost all of it is out. I don't wash them out.

    2. Did you know that canola oil is made from Rapeseed? See:

      In addition to rapeseed being lethal to a number of types of birds, the use of rapeseed oil is cpntroversial -- the FDA does not allow it to be used in infant formula because it is linked to growth retardation. It is also linked to heart lesions, decrease in platelet count, vitamin E deficiency, high blood pressure, and lowered life spans.


      I think the bottle did you a favor by going rancid.

      I use peanut oil or sunflower oil for my non-olive oil frying needs.

      12 Replies
      1. re: karmalaw

        Thank you, but you didn't answer my actual question. If you read my post, I said "I rarely use canola oil for cooking" so I believe the massive quantities that they've fed rats in health studies doesn't even compare to the minute amount of canola I've had in my lifetime.

        And with a bit more Wiki'ing, you'd see that canola oil contains only 0.5 to 1% erucic acid, well below the 2% allowed by the USDA than traditional rapeseed oil.

        Either way - do you have a suggestion for disposing of the oil as I asked in my original post?

        1. re: LindaWhit

          If I had to dispose of it, I'd wait until my garbage was full, then pour the oil over top of it and tie it up and take it out. You don't have that much to get rid of. What ever is in the garbage with soak it up.

          1. re: livetocook

            Now THAT is a great idea! Why didn't I think of that? LOL What with the used paper towels and other paper products I tend not to throw in the newpaper recycle bag (envelopes, etc.) it should be enough to soak up enough of the oil. Thanks ltc!

            1. re: LindaWhit

              pouring the oil into a full bag of garbage is definitely the way to go. that's how i always do it.

              re: the recycling of plastic containers, make sure they actually can be recycled - there are many that can't. the number stamped on the bottom is the best way to determine this. you have to find out from your local recycling program which numbers are accepted - typically it's 1 and 2, and sometimes 6. any other numbers actually can't be recycled, and it's the unfortunate job of recycling center employees to sift through everything and remove the wrong ones. i can't tell you how guilty i felt about this when i found out that all those yogurt & cottage cheese containers i had been putting in the recycling bin had to be picked out by some poor soul!

              [fyi, the tetra-paks & aseptic packages for things like soy & almond milk, drink boxes, etc. can only be recycled at a limited number of places, so find out about those as well before putting them in the recycling bin.]

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                Waste Management (my local trash company) sends out legal-sized flyers that has all the details of what's recyclable and what's not - that's taped on the wall going down into my basement so I always have a reference. Plus, the WM guys will leave something in the bin if they don't take it. <vbg>

                Currently, I can recycle plastic bottles & jars marked 1 through 7, glass bottles/jars, aluminum and steel/tin food and drink cans, and milk and juice cartons and drink boxes, in addition to paper. Heck - they take the 28-30 lb. plastic containers I get the kitty litter in (although I've seen people drive by and stop and take them before the recycling team gets there to use for their own storage! LOL)

                1. re: LindaWhit

                  I've been using these to grow herbs! I just drill some holes at the bottom for drainage, fill with potting soil and plant some herbs. Which I use for cooking (keeping it all food-related) :-)

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    linda, that's amazing. few places will accept all grades of plastic - typically it's just 1,2, and occasionally 7.

                    in NYC the only plastic containers they'll accept are bottles & jugs...and the neck has to be narrower than the body of the container to qualify. it's absurd!

              2. re: livetocook

                I have more oil than that. I have a large bottle 1/2 full and a full smaller bottle. Yes, I discovered it in the back of the pantry closet. We don't use much either, as you can see.

                1. re: shan_gug

                  I realize this is an old thread but as long as it's back - if you have a cat (as the OP does)- pour the oil over the used kitty litter that you are bagging and putting in the garbage.

                  1. re: greygarious

                    Glad I saw this today. Perfect way for me to multitask and get rid of two things at once. The rancid oil and the cat litter

              3. re: LindaWhit

                Unless you've got some massive quantity of oil to dispose of, then do what the others have said: let it cool and pour it over your garbage -- that's what I do. If there's more, I use an empty non-recyclable container.

                Meanwhile, when you purchase oil for cooking -- you might find better results with one of the other oils -- if you're doing high heat searing: peanut oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, lard or even bacon grease will usually give you better flavor and results.

                1. re: karmalaw

                  I often find peanut oil gives a flavor I'm not looking for, but sunflower or safflower oil is what I used to use a long time ago, so that's a possibility.

                  Bacon grease is saved for home fries. :-)

            2. of course if you have a diesel engine that runs on bio fuels ....

              1. I save ALL of my used oil (don' use anything but olive and peanut oil so I've never had any turn ransid) in a half gallon screw-lid milk container, then put it out on recycling pick-up day. Even though the container is recyclable, so is the used/ransid cooking oil, and most importantly, it's reclaimed for bio-deisel. Whether the bio-deisel mfrs recycle the container is their responsibility. If you don't know whether this is done in your neighborhood, call your city sanitation department and ask questions. Good luck!

                1. I just throw my oil away in the container that I bought it in, even if it is recyclable. Some recyclers don't want oily containers, anyway...