DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – While you’re cooking your Thanksgiving Day feasts, it’s important to remember how to safely dispose of all the grease that comes with frying and baking turkeys and making those delicious side dishes.

Officials in Dorchester County say you should never pour cooking oils and grease in your backyard, in the trash or down the sink because it can be very dangerous for the environment and hard on pipes and sewer systems.

“When fats, oils, and grease (FOG) are washed down the drain, they stick to the inside of pipes, hardening and building up until they cause clogs and sewer backups,” said Dorchester County spokeswoman, Tiffany Norton. “This can cause sewage to overflow into homes, streets, and local waterways. Whether the repairs are in your home or in the street, it can be costly and inconvenient.”

“Were trying to avoid it going in our storm lines and into our drains,” said Annmarie Chadeayne with Dorchester County Water and Sewer. “It can cause damage to our environment.”

Rather than washing grease down the drain, Dorchester County encourages residents to safely dispose of fryer oil and cooking grease at one of twelve convenience sites, throughout the county.

Norton said the collected cooking oil and grease will be recycled into biodiesel or biogas, which reduces landfill waste and produces an alternative fuel that is clean and green.

How to Properly Dispose of Cooking Oil/Grease

When you have finished cooking, collect liquid grease and oils in a sealable container that can be taken to your nearest Convenience Site to be recycled. For the grease that cannot be poured into the container, wipe pans clean with a paper towel and put it in the trash. Food scraps that can be composted, should, all other remaining scraps go in the trash. Scrape off excess food from pots, pans, and plates before rinsing them in the sink with cold water.

What Not to Do

Never dispose of cooking oil/grease in the woods or backyard. When waste cooking oil is dumped in backyards, it can find its way into the natural waterways, harming fish and other aquatic life. 

Never poor cooking oil/grease directly in the trash. When waste cooking oil is thrown in the trash, the trash gets dumped in a landfill, the landfill gets coated in oil and grease which will also contaminate waterways and harm the natural ecosystems. 

Never pour cooking oil/grease down the sink. When FOG goes down the drain, it hardens and causes sewer pipes to clog. This can lead to a sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) where raw sewage backs up into your home, lawn, neighborhood, and streets. The unsanitary conditions can cause health issues and it can run into a nearby stream or river, which affects our drinking water. If your pipes become clogged from putting FOG down the drain, it can be a very expensive problem to fix. To avoid household and environmental damage as well as a costly bill, never put FOG down the drain.