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How to Get Rid of Cooking Oil in San Diego and Del Mar

City of San Diego and Del Mar residents may take their used cooking oil to Miramar Recycling Center or the New Leaf Biofuel facility in PB, provided that it is less than 30 quarts.

Editor's Note: I Love A Clean San Diego released the following tips on Nov. 20, 2012.

With the holiday season drawing near, I Love A Clean San Diego and the County of San Diego remind residents that fats, oils, and grease from cooking should not be poured down kitchen sinks or drains. Instead, residents should accumulate their used cooking oil for proper disposal at a local collection facility. To find the closest drop off location, unincorporated County residents are encouraged to visit the County’s Recycling and Household Hazardous Waste database at wastefreesd.org or call 1-877-R-1-EARTH (1-877-713-2784).

When cooking oil is discarded into your kitchen sink, it accumulates inside the sewer pipes making it difficult for wastewater to flow freely to the wastewater treatment plant. This includes wastewater draining from toilets and showers. When wastewater cannot make its way through the sewer pipes, it overflows into homes, streets, lawns, and storm drains, eventually making its way to the ocean. These results are the equivalent of a sewage spill, and can cause substantial damage to the local environment.

There are a number of collection sites that accept cooking oil from the public in San Diego County. For unincorporated County residents, there are collection sites at Ramona Disposal, as well as EDCO facilities in San Marcos and Lemon Grove. City of San Diego residents may take their used cooking oil to Miramar Recycling Center, provided that it is less than 30 quarts. Miramar Recycling is located at 5165 Convoy St., San Diego, CA 92111. There is no fee associated with recycling used cooking oil and some facilities are able to turn this used cooking oil into fuel for cars and other machines. Residents can also bring cooking oil to New Leaf Biofuel at 1380 Garnet Ave., San Diego (Pacific Beach.)

For more information on these centers, visit the County’s Recycling and Household Hazardous Waste database at www.wastefreesd.org or call 1-877-R-1-EARTH (1-877-713-2784). I Love A Clean San Diego encourages all San Diegans to visit WasteFreeSD.org to learn more about proper recycling practices of hundreds of items.

Here are a few common myths about cooking oil:

Myth: You can put grease down the sink as long as you wash it down with dish soap
Fact: Even though soap breaks up grease, it loses its effectiveness downstream, allowing grease to solidify on the pipe walls, eventually causing a sewer backup.

Myth: You can safely pour cooking oil down the sink as long as it’s at room temperature
Fact: Cooking oil such as canola oil and olive oil float on water and adhere to the sewer pipes. It is best to avoid pouring oil down the drain altogether and recycling it instead.

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