1 liter of used vegetable oil can contaminate up to 1.000 liters of water

Just 1 liter of used vegetable oil can contaminate up to a thousand liters of water. It is used in domestic kitchens, large food factories, restaurants and hotels to fry French fries, doughnuts, breadcrumbs, donuts and other dishes, and every day it becomes waste that, if not treated properly, can contaminate our water and our land.

World Water Day is celebrated on March 22 to raise awareness about these and other issues that threaten the planet's vital resources. This waste in homes is often thrown into pipes, onto the ground or into general garbage, and eventually ends up in landfills.

A recent study by FAUBA and DH-SH, based in Santa Fe, Argentina, warns that among home kitchens nationwide, only 22% discard this waste properly, 25% do so occasionally and 53% never do so. does after using it for frying.

The numbers on used vegetable oil are worrying

Although our planet is made up mainly of water, only 2,5% is fresh water and only 0,007% of Earth's water is suitable for drinking, and this amount is decreasing each year due to pollution.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2022, 6 billion people (73% of the world's population) will have water sources managed safely for human consumption, that is, located at collection points available when necessary and free of contamination. The remaining 27% comes from other unsafe sources, such as well water or untreated surface water from lakes, ponds, rivers and streams.

According to the WHO, contaminated water causes a large number of diseases such as cholera, other diarrheal diseases, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid fever and polio. Although there are many causes of this pollution, the rarely mentioned enemy of water that affects the majority of the population is used cooking oil.

The company DH-SH, which has been providing logistics and cleaning services in the oil industry for 20 years, together with FAUBA (Faculty of Agronomy of the UBA) carried out a study in 2022 on the management of used oils in cooking and They concluded that one of the main sources of this waste is buildings and residential areas.

The report highlights that Argentina throws away 95 million liters of used cooking oil every year, only from small generators and those of us who cook at home. As a result, 56% of Argentines never classify this waste, 25% do it occasionally and 22% do it regularly. What happens with used cooking oil after it is thrown away is that many people don't know how to dispose of it and throw it down the drain.

"This waste often mixes with food, attracts rats and insects, and clogs pipes. If the oil does not harden, it will continue to flow down the drain to the treatment plant. Factories that receive substances containing oils face problems when disposing of these wastes. Treatment is expensive and prolongs processing time"said Ziomara Maty Doret, environmental engineer and environmental analyst at DH-SH.

If untreated and poured directly into natural water sources, it will form a film on the surface; This layer of oil hinders the exchange of oxygen between water and air, affecting aquatic life, including plants and fish.
Furthermore, the DH-SH environmental analyst warns that the amount of oil necessary to create this invisible layer in the water is very small, so good management is necessary to avoid negative effects. Hence the importance of having recycling plants in cities to properly manage this waste and avoid water pollution.

Campaign: Recycle your used vegetable oil

With the aim of giving new life to this type of waste that is little talked about, DH-SH, based in Santa Fe, created the Recycle Your Oil campaign in 2017. The initiative included the installation of green points for local communities, the management of used cooking oil for large generators and implementation of an environmental education program for schools, through which the campaign has reached more than 2.000 students.

used vegetable oil

Since the launch of the campaign seven years ago, the company has managed to install more than 300 green sites throughout the country within the framework of more than 100 contracts signed with local governments in 15 provinces. Small users can go to the nearest place to deposit used cooking oil in plastic bottles and ensure the recycling of raw materials. DH-SH is responsible for collecting it and transporting it to the plant, where it is conditioned and processed as raw material to produce second generation biofuels.

"There are people who make soap and candles with used oil. In our case, the idea is to recycle instead of reuse because at some point the oil is no longer suitable for reuse and loses its properties. We filter it, eliminating all traces of food and dirt, so that it becomes raw material for another process and becomes biodiesel. We are part of a transformation chain different from reuse”says Ziomara Mathie Doret, adding that vegetable oils can always be recycled, regardless of the color in which they arrive at the factory.

To evaluate how recycling can be part of a broader solution to environmental problems, DH-SH has published its first sustainability report based on GRI standards, which is also the first report in its field in Latin America.

One of the notable figures is that since the beginning of the campaign, 12.517.391,3 cubic meters of our water resources be contaminated by this waste, which corresponds to a volume of 5.000 Olympic swimming pools.

How to dispose of used vegetable oil at home?

  • After use, wait for the oil to cool and then place it in a clean, dry plastic bottle with a lid.
  • Save the plastic container with a lid so you can continue adding used vegetable oil.
    Once the container is complete, move it closer to the green dot to complete the process.

This used vegetable oil, which would otherwise be wasted, becomes raw material for the production of second generation biofuels.


With information of: https://economiasustentable.com/