Fats, oils and greases (FOGs) are the backbone of restaurant kitchens. French fries are dunked into cooking oil and fried until they are a golden crisp. Airborne grease from frying hamburgers gets stuck to the ventilation hood. Restaurants are in the position to do something with this grease.
Fresh cooking oil allows foods to be fried to a tasty crisp. Once foods are repeatedly fried in the same cooking oil, the oil transforms into a darkened, burnt mess. Continuing to deep fry hushpuppies in used cooking oil results in the finger foods becoming oily and less crispy.
Ensuring French fries and fish are fried until they are mouthwatering requires that the cooking oil be replaced. Restaurant personnel are tasked with the duty of discarding the burnt cooking oil. Disposing of the used cooking oil is done in a number of ways, some of which are less than ideal.
What do restaurants do with grease (but should not)?
Some of the grease is poured down the sink, which leads to plumbing issues and problems with the sewer line. Restaurant grease might still end up in the sewer via the dishwasher. Grease scattered on the floor winds up falling through the restaurant floor drains.
Sanitary sewer overflows are the unfortunate outcome of pouring or washing grease down the restaurant kitchen sink. The liquid grease eventually solidifies and narrows the sewer pipe’s internal opening. The pipes will clog and cause sewer backups into the restaurant, storm drains, or streets.
The dangers of sanitary sewer overflows are many. Nearby lakes, rivers, and streams become polluted with grease. Backups into the restaurant produce foul odors that repel customers; consequently, business closures are possible. Plus, overflows release bacteria and viruses, causing a public health crisis.
While the environmental hazards of sanitary sewer overflows are evident, restaurants that engage in the unlawful practice of dumping grease down the sewer will suffer further. Restauranteurs can potentially face heavy civic fines if they are found responsible for sanitary sewer overflows.
Grease dumpsters are an environmentally friendly way to dispose of kitchen grease. These receptacles are designed to hold leftover greases and oils. Usually, the grease dumpsters are located behind the restaurant or in the vicinity of the building’s parking lot.
The kitchen staff transport the used grease to the dumpster on a daily basis. The danger of grease dumpsters is that the containers can crack and allow grease to seep out. Rainfall can then wash down the uncontained grease into storm drains—which causes environmental issues.
Avoiding unnecessary grease seepage can be readily accomplished by scheduling regular grease pickups with a cooking oil collection company. Vacuum trucks are dispatched once a week or monthly (depending on the size of the restaurant) to collect the old grease from the receptacle.
A pitfall of letting grease accumulate in the grease dumpsters is that the stinking stuff lures thieves. Used cooking oil can be turned into fuels, and the viscous liquid can be sold for around 40 cents per pound to grease collection companies.
Restaurants can lose millions of dollars through grease thefts. According to the North American Renderers Association, $75 million worth of used cooking oil is stolen each year. Additional millions of dollars in damages are lost to locking grease dumpsters.
What are restaurants advised to do with grease?
Used grease is valuable and can be turned into biofuels and animal feed. Restauranteurs must properly dispose of old cooking oil in order to benefit. Daily actions on the part of kitchen staff can keep grease out of the sewer and out of the hands of grease thieves.
The most important part of correct grease disposal is to throw the liquid into grease collection bins—and not down the drain. Scrape scraps of greasy foods off plates before placing the dishes into the dishwasher. Only non-greasy foods may be safely thrown down the garbage disposal.
Absorbing fallen grease droplets from the floor via paper towels ensures the mess will minimize the likelihood of the grease ending up down the drains. Drain screens installed in the sinks prevent grease and greasy food particles from clogging the restaurant pipes.
Relying on scheduled pickups from a grease collection company is the number one recommended method for disposing of used grease. These companies transform the grease through a process of heating, high-pressure steam, filtering and purifying. The processed grease is turned into fuel.
Grease collection companies also serve restaurants by providing grease trap maintenance. Grease traps should be pumped out regularly to ensure the old grease does not accumulate in the sewer system. These devices function only when they are properly installed and regularly maintained.
Restauranteurs with regular grease on their hands have the opportunity to partner with a reputable grease recycling company, like Mahoney Environmental. Our cooking oil recycling programs are designed to fit the unique needs of restaurants, while protecting the environment.
Safeguard your grease collection receptacle from thieves by scheduling regular pickups with Mahoney Environmental. We offer convenient monitoring capabilities through our online oil usage system, whereby restaurant owners can ensure they receive timely cooking oil pickups and preserve kitchen safety.
Mahoney Environmental provides comprehensive services to meet the needs of today’s restaurants. We offer our convenient Preferred Oil Program. Customers schedule used cooking oil pickups, fresh cooking oil deliveries and the installation and maintenance of kitchen equipment, such as grease traps.
Commercial grease trap cleaning services and cooking oil equipment installation and design are also available to Mahoney Environmental customers. Whether your kitchen has an outdoor or indoor grease trap, our specialists will ensure it functions optimally to prevent drain backups and foul odors.
When you aim to optimize the cost of frying, improve kitchen safety and work with a renowned leader in cooking oil collection, choose Mahoney Environmental. Call us at 800-892-9392 to schedule your restaurant’s next cooking oil pickup.