Here’s how it goes: You fry up some … oh, we don’t know, let’s go with Gulf oysters. And you eat them and they’re lovely and satisfying and then it comes time to clean the kitchen and you realize you’ve got a big ol’ pot o’ spent cooking oil sitting on your stove.

Whether it’s vegetable oil, bacon grease or any other kind of common kitchen lipid, there are some good things to do with it and some bad things to do with it. Let’s discuss.

Bad

It’s bad to pour it down the sink. Even if you run a bunch of hot water with it, even if you mix it with an equal amount of dish soap. The problem is, that grease will cling to plumbing. Restaurants have devices installed to catch grease as it goes down the drain, and can be fined if they don’t. This is a big deal. Sometimes an entire neighborhood can be affected. So don’t do this.

Decent

A decent thing to do would be to re-use it. Just use common sense, here. Don’t use the oil you used to fry the oysters to bake a cake (unless you want an oystery cake, which … to each his own), but if you made some french fries, it’s perfectly fine to re-use that oil to fry up some chicken fingers or whatever. Bacon grease is a wonderful thing in which to cook eggs or hamburger patties or something along those lines.

You can store it in jars, of course, but another option is to freeze it into little cubes for future use. It’ll keep for about a year that way.

Cooking oil can be re-used multiple times. Just filter it, store it and you’re good to go.

Good

We’re all for conservation and recycling, but sometimes you just don’t want that oil. Maybe it burned, or it got filled with lots of bits of food, maybe you just don’t feel like keeping it.  Here’s how to get rid of it:

Let it cool. If it’s bacon fat or butter or something that was once a solid, let it become solid once again and just throw it away in a jar.

Another option is to compost it. It will do a compost pile a lot of good. However, be sure only to do this with vegetable oil that has been used to cook something other than meat, as animal fats will attract vermin to your compost pile.

So there you have it. Cook with it, throw it in the trash, put it in your compost pile. Just please don’t dump it down the sink.