Bacon is a delicious food enjoyed by my family. However, cooking it leaves a common by-product: grease.
I know that bacon grease can cause plumbing issues and harm the environment if not disposed of properly. It can even start a fire!
Shall I throw my grease in the trash? Or should I reuse/recycle it?
I decided to explore the proper method to dispose of bacon grease in a responsible and environmentally friendly manner.
How to Dispose of Bacon Grease?
Proper disposing of bacon protects the environment, prevents fire incidents, and protects the sewage system (fatberg prevention).
You can throw it in the trash or compost bin, store it for reuse, or recycle the bacon grease.
Dispose of Bacon Grease in the Dustbin
I will tell you an easy way to get rid of your bacon grease. Throw it into the trash by following the steps below.
- Allow the bacon grease to cool down to room temperature. It could take an hour or two. The next step depends on the time you have.
- If you are in a hurry (and don’t mind being extra cautious) take a heavy-duty aluminum foil and line a wide-mouth container or a cup. Make sure to add two or more layers of foil wrap. Wait for 15 minutes. The grease will not be burning hot anymore. Wear oven mitts and carefully pour the grease from the cookware into the container. Keep the container in the freezer and allow the bacon to solidify. You are free to go about your daily routine.
- Follow this step if you are not in a hurry. After the grease has cooled down, pour it into a container. The container has to be leakproof and disposable. You can choose containers with disposable grease bags.
- Wipe the remaining grease off the cookware with a paper towel.
- You can throw the container/paper towel directly into the trash.
- If you don’t want to part with your container, keep it in the freezer. Once the grease solidifies, scrape it out with a rubber spatula and throw the grease into the trash.
Dispose of Bacon Grease in the Compost Bin
Composting bacon is an environment-friendly option. If you have a backyard or a garden, composting will be an easier option for you.
Just make sure that the bacon grease has cooled down before you pour it into your compost pile.
Mix the bacon grease with the other compost materials like food scrapes, etc, to avoid unpleasant odors. Keep an eye out for pests and rodents, as they can get attracted to the fat smell.
When the compost is ready, bury it deep inside the earth to make your soil nutrient rich.
Dispose of Bacon Grease by Dropping it at Sewage Treatment Plants
As the bacon grease can be hazardous for the environment and sewage system, take the bacon grease to a sewage treatment plant available near you.
Make sure to call them before going and check for the guidelines and their accepting parameters.
For other areas, do some research and find out about the local treatment plants in your area.
You could also call a hazardous waste facility and see if they accept the bacon grease.
Reusing Bacon Grease
If you are not a big fan of throwing the grease away, you could reuse the bacon grease in different food recipes.
- Bacon Grease can be used instead of cooking oil to infuse a rich flavor into the dish. Use it like normal cooking oil for sauteing and frying vegetables and meat.
- It can also be used to season all sorts of food before grilling/roasting.
- Add flavor to meat gravy dishes by adding bacon grease.
- Use bacon grease to make cookies and popcorn.
- Drizzle it on top of cooked meals, salads, noodles
- Bacon grease is an excellent base for fried rice and roasted veggies.
Also read: How to Reduce Food Waste in Your Kitchen?
How to Store Leftover Bacon Grease?
If you do not want to throw away the bacon grease, you could store it and reuse it later for cooking.
Follow the steps below:
- Allow the grease to cool down to room temperature.
- Strain the grease using a strainer, a sieve, or a cheesecloth. You can also use containers that come with a strainer and are especially for bacon grease. Strainers remove the leftover food debris and separate it from the grease.
- Pour the leftover grease into an air-tight container. These will prolong the age of the bacon grease and prevent it from going rancid.
- Label your container with a date, so you know when it is not safe for cooking anymore.
- Store the jar/bottle in a cool area away from heat and light. If you are going to reuse it the same day, you can store it at room temperature. Otherwise, it is best stored in the fridge/freezer. Bacon grease stays good under ideal conditions in the fridge for up to six months. You can keep it in the freezer for a year.
How Does Bacon Grease Harm the Environment?
Bacon grease should never be poured down the drain as the fat layer chokes and clogs up the pipelines. The sewage system gets disturbed, causing overflows and backups.
There is a term used for it – ‘fatbergs’.
Fatbergs are solidified masses made up of grease and cooking oils that accumulate and block the sewage system. It is a portmanteau of fat and iceberg.
A fatberg does something similar to what an iceberg does in the sea for a ship. Not only are fatbergs a nuisance, but they can also be costly to remove.
According to a CNN report in May 2021, “a massive fatberg weighing more than 300 tons was clogging a sewer in the English city.”
Thames Water, the guy who operated the water system, said the government spends 1.4 million a month to clear blockages of this kind.
If bacon grease somehow manages to flow out of sewage pipes (with the help of human intervention) into a lake, pond, or river, it turns lethal for the aquatic system.
Bacon grease forms a thick layer on the surface of the water. This layer prevents oxygen from reaching down to the aquatic species of plants and animals. The result? The biodiversity slowly gets killed.
Bacon grease can also cause a fire. If you leave it unattended while cooking something on the stove or oven, there are high chances of it overheating and self-igniting.
Similarly, it isn’t a good idea to throw hot grease into a container that can’t handle hot temperatures.
It is also not a good idea to burn bacon grease. It releases harmful chemicals like PAH ( polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) into the environment.
How to tell If the Stored Bacon Grease has Gone Bad?
An easy way to Find out if the stored bacon grease has turned bad is to smell it, taste it, or have a look at it.
Bad bacon grease will have a rancid smell and a sour taste. There can also be a texture change or mold or fungus formation.
How to Recycle Bacon Grease
Bacon grease can be recycled in various ways to protect the pipelines and the environment.
Here are some of the best ways you could recycle bacon grease:
- You can make soap. The bacon grease adds a protective layer to the skin and prevents the loss of water. The grease needs to be melted and mixed with a lye solution. It then goes into a soap mold, where it hardens and is removed for use.
- You can use it as a biodiesel. You would need the help of a professional as the bacon grease has to be heated and mixed with a catalyst and alcohol.
- Bacon grease contains essential fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins. It is a great way to make the feed more nutritious. The grease has a rich flavor, loved by most animals like goats, pigs, horses, etc.
How to Avoid Grease While Cooking Bacon?
Like everything else, there is a shortcut here as well. If you want to avoid disposing of bacon grease, cook it in the oven.
Cooking in the oven will only require a baking tray and foil.
Line the entire baking tray with foil and include the sides and corners. Follow the baking recipe you wish to make.
Once cooked, remove the tray and allow the bacon to cool down. Remove the bacon and place it on a paper towel. The paper towel will soak up the juice.
How to Make Money from Bacon Grease?
This is my favorite part and motivates me to continue cooking my favorite bacon delicacies.
Here are a few ways you can turn the grease into a profitable business :
- You can start your own soap business. Use the grease to make handmade soap right in the comfort of your own home. You can sell the soap at local market shops or online.
- Collect and sell the grease. You can collect the grease over time and sell it to biodiesel producers. There are always people looking for a renewable source of fuel and bacon grease is a cherished commodity. Some examples of biodiesel producers are Hormel foods and Bio-Blend fuels. You can find biodiesel fueling station locations here.
- You can sell the bacon grease to animal farms. You can tell the livestock and poultry owners about how the bacon grease will provide nutrition and energy when mixed with the feed.
- Many restaurants in your area will gladly pay you to collect waste grease and oil from them. You can even opt for collecting them for free and then sell them to biodiesel producers, soap-making plants, animal feed-making plants, fertilizer-making plants, etc.
Where to Dispose of Bacon Grease?
Bacon grease is not a biodegradable product and needs to be disposed of safely.
You should never throw it down the sink or toilet. It can block up your pipes and create trouble in the sewage system.
If it goes to a water body, it kills the biodiversity by forming a layer on top and cutting off the oxygen supply for the plants and fishes.
The best method to dispose of bacon grease would be to throw it in a sealed container in the dustbin, throw it into the compost bin, or dispose of bacon grease at the local sewage treatment centers, hazardous waste centers, etc.
How to Dispose of Bacon Grease Without Foil
A foil is needed to wrap around a container if you are going to pour hot grease. If you do not have a foil, just allow the grease to cool down.
Once the bacon grease has cooled down, pour it into a container.
Wipe the remaining grease with a paper towel and throw both the container and the paper towel in the trash.
If you have a limited container, don’t throw it out. Freeze the container. Once the bacon grease has frozen, remove it with the help of a rubber spatula and throw the grease into the trash.
Bacon grease is a common byproduct of cooking bacon.
It should be disposed of following any of the methods mentioned above.
You can pour into a container and throw the container, or freeze the container and throw the contents. You can also add it to the compost bin.
You also have a choice to store and reuse it for cooking.
You can also recycle it. Turn into a bacon grease collector, and you can earn some money by making soap or selling the grease to biodiesel producers, animal feed producers, local animal farm owners, or fertilizer-making plants.
At the end of this article, I realized that bacon grease is not something worth disposing of.
It is worth turning into a business venture or nutrition booster for animals. Cheers!
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