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Can You Compost Vegetable Oil? Everything You Need to Know!

pouring vegetable oil in a bowl

Vegetable oil lasts a long time, but if you have burnt or rotting oil, it’s only natural to wonder how you can dispose of it. It’s a complex organic material, which makes the composting process a bit more complicated.

While you can compost vegetable oil, it’s often not the best way to dispose of it. Here, we break down why that’s the case and highlight how you should dispose of any old vegetable oil that you have in your home.

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Can You Compost Vegetable Oil?

Since vegetable oil is an organic material, it’s possible to compost it. But before you dump it into the compost bin, we highly recommend reading the pros and cons of composting vegetable oil.

There’s a good chance that you’ll choose to dispose of your old vegetable oil in a different way once you know how it works!

Garden shovel on compost. Freshly composted earth from compost bin. nutrient rich vegetables converted to soil
Image Credit: Olena Siemer, Shutterstock

Advantages of Composting Vegetable Oil

Composting benefits include enriching the soil in the area, reducing the need for chemical fertilizers, and having other environmental benefits.

Moreover, when it comes to composting vegetable oil, many of the benefits are due to the way that you’re not disposing of it. It can be problematic if you dump it down the drain, for example, and composting eliminates this problem entirely.

Disadvantages of Composting Vegetable Oil

While you can compost vegetable oil, there are a few disadvantages compared to disposing of it in different ways. The main problem is that while vegetable oil will indeed break down in compost, it takes much longer than other organic materials.

This slows down the composting process for everything else in the bin. Complicating matters further is that composting vegetable oil smells, and this often attracts rodents and other pests to your compost bin.

If you don’t mind the slow process and the strong smell and if you have a way to keep rodents and pests away from your compost, you can take the time to compost vegetable oil.

Image Credit: jokevanderleij8, pixabay

What You Should Do With Old Vegetable Oil

If you don’t want to compost old vegetable oil and you can’t dump it down the drain, what are you supposed to do with the stuff? The best answer for the environment is to take the vegetable oil to a local grease recycling program.

It depends on your area if there’s a program like that near you, but if there is, the old grease can be recycled into biodiesel. Collect the oil into an old coffee can or a jar, and then drop it off at the recycling facility.

If there’s not a local recycling facility in your area, you can compost small amounts of vegetable oil; otherwise, you might just need to throw it in the trash.

It’s not the best solution, but it’s better than causing thousands of dollars in damages by dumping it down the drain or ruining the composting process for everything else in the bin.

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Final Thoughts

There’s no doubt that composting old organic material is a great environmental solution, but you can’t compost just anything.

If you have a large amount of old vegetable oil, you need to consider if your compost bin is ready to handle it, and if it’s not, you need to figure out a different way to dispose of it!

Featured Image Credit: DUSAN ZIDAR, Shutterstock


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