Used cooking oil is classified as a waste, whilst being non-hazardous there is still legislation in place covering its disposal. As a producer of cooking oil waste you are required to ensure that your waste oil is collected by a Licensed Waste Carrier - this ensures that it is disposed of correctly, and a waste transfer note will be issued to you which can then be shown to any authorities that require you to demonstrate that the correct disposal requirements are being followed.
If you do not follow the correct disposal procedures you could face a substantial fine!
History of Used Cooking Oil:
In the past many farmers collected waste cooking oil from local restaurants to add to animal feed, paying for any collected. Commercial collection companies also provided this service where the oil was sold for use in both animal feeds and cosmetics among other things.
Margins in the market reduced to the point where it was no longer feasible for commercial companies to pay for the waste, legislation introduced in the past few years also banned waste fats and vegetable oils that had been used for cooking meats from being used in animal feeds, – this excluded farmers from legally collecting used oils for use on their farms. It is still allowed for used cooking oil that is certified to be used in animal feeds, for example from crisp factories. This ban was in no small part due to CJD and BSE, feeding waste oils with a fat content to animals was introducing this waste directly into the human food chain.
Payments for the waste was withdrawn by many companies, as the value decreased.
Within the last couple of years Biodiesel has become commercially viable, leading to numerous production plants being established or proposed across Ireland and UK. This is now the accepted disposal method for used cooking oil, although a huge percentage is being exported to mainland Europe, where more favourable tax breaks mean that Biodiesel is more financially viable.