Options for restaurants recycling or disposing of used cooking oil include microfiltration for reuse on site or storing it in containers for pickup by recycling companies. The recycling companies then convert the waste cooking oil into biodiesel, hydraulic fluid or other products for reuse.
Most restaurants filter oil in their fryers regularly to remove large particles left by food cooked in it. This prevents the previous food from burning in the oil. However, it does not remove the smaller carbon particles, water and other compounds that cause the oil to turn dark and develop a bitter flavor. Microfiltration processes remove the particles and odors that make food cooked in the oil taste stale and allows the restaurant to extend the time the oil remains useful.
Recycling companies often provide collection containers for the used oil. When it reaches the end of its useful life in the restaurant fryer, the staff drains it from the unit and pours it into the container. The recycling company then either collects the full container and replaces it with an empty one or uses a pumper truck to empty it on site. Many recycling companies pay the restaurant for the oil, and recycling keeps it out of the drains, where it causes clogs, and garbage, where it causes problems for collection companies.