Monday, January 07, 2008

Prevent FOG clogs.

When I was growing up there was always a container of grease on the stove. Both my mother and grandmother saved grease and oil from cooking. My grandmother would sometimes reuse clean grease for cooking. She'd use our unedible grease to make lye soap. She used it for everything and gave it away to those of us who valued it. In fact, her last set of Christmas gifts to family and friends was gift wrapped homemade lye soap. How cool!

Nowadays, there's much less grease in my and my mother's homes - healthy eating and all. But every now and again, Kwadjo makes falafel or chicken livers and we have grease. We haven't had any new lye soap since that gift wrapped bunch over ten years ago, so what do we do with the grease? It's a problem for lots of us, particularly in restaurants. Fats, oils and greases (FOG) clogs drains and can cause sewage back-ups and flooding, costing money for repairs and damaging the environment. So here are some tips on how to prevent a FOG clog:

Do not

* Pour liquified fat, oil or grease down the drain. This causes to FOG clogs.
* Use hot water and soap to wash away the grease down the drain. It will harden and clog your pipes.


--> Place cooled cooking oil, poultry and meat fats in sealed non-recyclable containers and discard with your regular garbage. FOG is food waste. Treat it as such.
--> Use paper towels to wipe residual grease or oil off of dishes, pots and pans before washing them. Discard the towels in the trash.

Bottom line - if you're not going to use your FOG waste for fuel (biodiesel or WVO) or for soap, put it in the trash not down the drain. Similar rules apply to motor oil except that it should be recycled. So now Kwadjo and I have container of grease under the sink. When it's full we'll trash it. Maybe one day, though, we'll make soap!

"Opinions are to the vast apparatus of social existence what oil is to machines: one does not go up to a turbine and pour machine oil over it; one applies a little to hidden spindles and joints that one has to know." - Walter Benjamin (1892–1940), German philosopher


Karama said...

More on lye soap: My grandmother, Fanilla Suttles Cobb, made soap with sodium hydroxide. As a young child I was never allowed near the initial saponification reaction (though I did one later in my 11th grade chemistry class). My job was to cut the soap after it hardened. My great-grandmother, Vashti Belk Suttles, made a soft soap using water drained from wood ashes from the wood burning stove - potassium hydroxide. Chemistry in action!

Neha said...

What a cool idea - and what a fun home made gift :-) Hope you're having a good New Year!

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Karama said...

Thanks for the good wish, Neha! Happy new year to you too! Please visit again soon.

Thanks for visiting, Monish, and for the link. Please come again soon, and spread the word!