What Happens to Recycled Cooking Oil?

October 15, 2019

Most of us care about the environment and we do things to help protect it, but there are small things we do every day that are harmful but often go unnoticed. We’ve all opted for a plastic bag when we didn’t need to, or left the lights or the TV on at home. While things like this have a relatively small impact, there are other small things we do that are more harmful, like the ways we dispose of cooking oil.

There are over 650,000 restaurants across the U.S., and they use millions of gallons of cooking oil each year. Unfortunately, only a small portion of that oil is recycled. When restaurants and other businesses have their grease traps cleaned, they often refer to the process as grease removal, which is just another way of saying “grease waste.”

At Safeway Used Oil and Grease, however, we prefer to call it “recycling.” We recycle cooking oil in New Orleans, LA to not only help protect the environment, but to give our customers a safe, efficient, cost-effective way to get their grease traps cleaned while also protecting the environment. Have you ever wondered what happens to recycled cooking oil? Today you’re going to find out.


While the oil you use for cooking may be very different from the oil you use in your car, they are both a type of fuel. When cooking oil is recycled, some of it is used to make biodiesel. Biodiesel is a renewable fuel and an alternative to petroleum-based diesel fuel.

Biodiesel helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions, ultimately reducing greenhouse gases that affect our environment. However, biodiesel is also good for the economy. It can be used for heating buildings and homes, as well as for powering vehicles, which helps reduce the country’s reliance on foreign oil resources. Biodiesel also helps create jobs and lower costs for local businesses, which means more money to stimulate local economies.


When biodiesel is made from recycled cooking oil, one of the co-products of that process is the production of glycerin. Glycerin is a compound that is a viscous liquid that is colorless and odorless. Glycerin is widely used in skin-care products, including lotions, cleansers and even hand sanitizer. It also has a sweet taste to it, which has made it a common ingredient used by the food industry to sweeten foods.

Other co-products

In addition to glycerin, the production of biodiesel results in some other useful co-products. These include renewable butane, renewable propane and naphtha. Naphtha is used in plastics, varnishes, thinners, paint, solvents and other products. Processed used cooking oil has also been used in animal feed as a nutritional supplement.

Recycling your cooking oil will not only save you money, but it can help benefit our economy and the environment as well. If you are interested in learning more about how to recycle cooking oil in New Orleans, LA, check out our cooking oil collection and recycling page here or contact us today to schedule your first oil recycling service!

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Safeway Used Oil and Grease