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Just one liter of used oil can contaminate nearly 40,000 liters of water. And this is the amount of water that a person consumes per year at home.
At an environmental level, the release of oils and fats into waterways deliver pollutants with high Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) that affect gas exchange. These substances, once they enter the aquatic environment, diffuse to the surface reducing the oxygenation of the water and its physical-chemical quality, putting the species present in these bodies of water at risk. In addition, they affect photosynthesis since they absorb the solar radiation necessary to carry out this process.
Fats and oils can also cover the skin and gills of fish, causing suffocation and death.
The used oil could be used for the production of biofuels, soaps and other uses in the chemical industry such as waxes and varnishes, promoting recycling and reducing its environmental impact.
For all these reasons, used oil should not be thrown down the sink. It should be collected by specialized companies that are responsible for proper disposal (incineration).
“When the oil cools, it accumulates in the pipes and, combined with other elements and food waste, generates clogs that cause overflowing of wastewater, which increases the possibility of sanitary damage in the community.", Reported the Aqueduct and Sewerage Company of Bogotá, which to prevent and motivate citizens to recycle oil launched the campaign"Here the river begins, do not pollute it”.
Oils and biodiesel
The improper disposal of cooking oils in dishwashers or siphons can generate grease balls that end up clogging the sewer networks.
In Europe, for example, all the used oil that is collected is used in the production of biodiesel, which translates into fossil energy savings of 21% compared to the use of crude oils, as well as energy savings 96% fossil compared to diesel production. And it is that each kilogram of oil collected can be transformed into 0.92 kg of biodiesel, according to the Center for Energy, Environmental and Technological Research of Spain.
Recommendations for treating oil at home
- Use racks in dishwashers to prevent the passage of solid waste.
- Wipe pots, pans and dishes with absorbent paper before washing.
- In the event of an oil spill on the floor, wipe up with absorbent material, sawdust or paper towels before washing.
- Do not discharge greases, oils and lubricants into the kitchen drain, toilets or any household drain.
- After allowing the oil to cool, use a funnel and a plastic bottle to empty and pour the oil carefully. Then take it to the nearest collection center.