Never put these 3 things down the drain + where Jefferson County residents can recycle grease


roasted chicken on white ceramic plate
Fried turkey sure does taste good, but where does the oil go? (Unsplash)

Never, ever put fats, oils or grease (FOG) down your drain. It’ll clog your pipes, causing overflows and backups. Luckily, Jefferson County residents have some great options for where we can recycle grease. Keep reading for all the details.

Stay out of the FOG + recycle grease in Jefferson County

Recycling FOG
Oil recycling is a service offered by Jefferson County Environmental Services department at no charge to residents. (Jefferson County)

Most people probably remember a cook in their life draining oil into a big metal can they kept somewhere near the stove. Turns out, there’s a good reason generations of home cooks kept those cans nearby.

Bet you didn’t know there’s a nickname for what we use to cook our Southern fried favorites. It’s FOG, which stands for fats, oils and grease. According to Jefferson County, FOG causes about 75% of all sewage blockages and costs the County hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in repairs.

Luckily, Jefferson County residents can recycle our FOG for free.

How to recycle grease in Jefferson County in 6 easy steps

There are several places to recycle your cooking oil. (Jefferson County)

Rather than an old Crisco or coffee can, you can grab a free container from Jefferson County at one of the dropoff locations to store your cooled-down fat, cooking oil or grease before dropping it off for recycling.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Go to one of the 21 recycling locations throughout Jefferson County—check out this map of locations.
  2. Grab a free plastic gallon jug for your grease—or use a plastic container of your own, as long as it has a sealable lid—no glass containers allowed.
  3. Let your oil cool when you’re done cooking.
  4. Once it has cooled, pour the used grease into the container.
  5. When the container gets as full as you want, drop it off at the center.
  6. While you’re there, grab another container and start the process over.

Easy peasy.

What happens when you recycle grease?

Truck with FOG for recycling
As you can see, the containers vary a good bit. Feel free to use whatever you have available, as long as it’s plastic and will seal. (Jefferson County)

After you drop off your collected FOG, it is transported to a rendering plant in Bessemer (Birmingham Hide and Tallow) for processing.

Used oil can then be turned into the following:

  • Biodiesel
  • Detergents
  • Makeup
  • Rubber
  • Soap
  • Protein meal for animal feed

Keep your FOG out of Jefferson County’s sewers + recycle grease instead. Start filling a container + drop it off when it’s full at a recycling center near you.

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Sharron Swain
Sharron Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference

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