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Solid Waste Dept. advises home cooks not to pour cooking oil down the drain

Steve Johnson

After every Thanksgiving meal, there’s a big kitchen cleanup to follow. Whether you have a light bit of old cooking oil or a whole vat from deep frying a turkey, you shouldn’t discard it down the kitchen drain.

Billy Gallegos is Albuquerque’s director of solid waste. He said old oil belongs in the garbage, not the sink.

“If you put it in the waste stream of your sewer drains, you're going to cause more backups and then the backups are going to cause bigger issues,” he said.

Gallegos said he and his family have a system. First, they let it cool, then, “We either save a milk container or separate container that we can dispose of, any type of container has a lid on it,” he said.

The milk jug of oil goes in a bag, then the garbage. He said if there’s a lot of oil, it’s best to add something to absorb it, like kitty litter, so it doesn’t make a mess for the solid waste department.

He added that if you’re trying to cut down on food waste, it’s also possible to reuse the grease that isn’t burnt.

“You can strain it, whether you use a coffee filter or some type of screening device, and you can reuse them at a later time,” he said.

And you’ll save the city the time and money it takes to clean it up.

This coverage is made possible by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and KUNM listeners.

Megan Myscofski is a reporter with KUNM's Poverty and Public Health Project.
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