Cooking Oil and Grease

Cooking oil and grease clog pipes. No one wants their sewage back.

Oil and grease from preparing food and washing dishes builds up in pipes and leads to sewage backups, expensive plumbing bills, and pollution in Puget Sound. View a video of a clogged pipe due to cooking oil and grease.

At home, even small amounts washed down the drain can build up over time. Businesses, especially restaurants, have specific requirements to manage the fats, oils, and grease (FOG) produced onsite.


Disposing of Used Cooking Oil and Grease

What should I do with used cooking oil and grease?

The correct way to dispose of cooking oil and grease depends on the amount you have.

  • Step 1: Cool oil and grease.
  • Step 2: Remove oil and grease from pots and pans:
    • Small amounts of oil and grease can be wiped up by paper towels or newspaper and placed in the compost.
    • Large amounts of liquid oil can be poured into a container, closed with a lid, and placed next to your recycling cart for curbside pickup. (Maximum two plastic, one-gallon containers with a screw-top per pickup.)
    • Large amounts of grease can be scraped into a container, covered with a lid, and placed in the garbage.

What foods can clog pipes?

Sources of cooking oil and grease include:

  • Cooking oil (all types), butter, shortening, lard, and margarine
  • Oil/grease from cooking meats
  • Oil leftover after frying foods
  • Greasy sauces and mayonnaise
  • Mixed juice at the bottom of roasting pans
  • Gravy, sauces, and soups
  • Fatty food scraps
  • Floating fat (on water) after crock pot/Dutch oven cooking
  • Oil/grease from roasting or pan sautéing veggies or meat
  • All dairy products, like milk, cream, sour cream, ice cream
  • Oils that solidify at cool temperatures, like olive oil and coconut oil

What about other food waste?

Food waste from garbage disposals can also clog pipes and cause sewer backups. Put food waste into your compost bin and use sink strainers to catch food waste during dish washing. Regularly empty the strainer and compost bin into your food and yard waste cart.

Photo of a compost bin Photo of a sink strainer


Public Utilities

Andrew Lee, General Manager and CEO
Address: 700 5th Avenue, Suite 4900, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34018, Seattle, WA, 98124-5177
Phone: (206) 684-3000

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Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is comprised of three major direct-service providing utilities: the Water Utility, the Drainage and Wastewater Utility, and the Solid Waste Utility.