Home ♃ Recent Stories ☄ Jefferson County Leaders on How to Recycle Your Household Grease for Free

Jefferson County Leaders on How to Recycle Your Household Grease for Free

Helen Hays, Public Information Officer at Jefferson County, talks about the importance of recycling household grease on Tuesday, Nov. 21 at the county's downtown fueling station. (Barnett Wright, The Birmingham Times)
By Lauren Perry

Ready to enjoy some delicious home-cooked meals this holiday season? Before you get out the recipes, make sure you have a plan for your fats, oils and grease (FOG). Pouring these substances down the drain can lead to serious plumbing issues.

But there’s good news—Jefferson County has a FREE and convenient household FOG disposal program.

The county works hard to advocate for grease recycling to keep sanitary sewers free and not clogged up. 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.

“Our goal is to keep grease from going down the drain,” said Dana Gray, Public Relations Coordinator, Jefferson County Environmental Services Department. “When FOG goes down the drain it congeals, solidifies and restricts the water flow in the pipes. And that’s when you get into a situation where you could have a sanitary sewer overflow, which is a maintenance nightmare and expensive to clean up.”

Pick up a free plastic gallon jug in Birmingham for your grease. (Jefferson County)

To keep grease out of your pipes, follow these seven easy steps.

1, Head over to one of the recycling locations throughout Jefferson County—check out this map of locations.

2, Grab a free plastic gallon jug for your grease with 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, Stop pouring when the container is about three-fourths of the way full to avoid spills.

6, Drop off your container at the recycling center.

7, While you’re there, grab another container and start the process over.

Help prevent clogged sewer and household pipes by taking your FOG to a recycling center.

There are more than 21 drop-off locations around Jefferson County, one in each region and watershed. Plus—they are open 24 hours a day.

Recycling FOG is a much better choice than dumping it on the ground. When FOG is dumped on the ground it still causes problems such as:

  • attracting animals
  • causing water pollution
  • creating harm to sewage and plumbing systems

Learn more about Jefferson County’s grease recycling program.

What happens to my recycled grease?

Wondering what happens after you drop off your collected FOG? It’s transported to a rendering plant in Bessemer (Birmingham Hide and Tallow) for processing.

Did you know that used oil can be reused, recycled and repurposed into the following:

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

“We’ve been recycling household cooking oil and grease in Jefferson County for 12 years now,” Gray said. “In those 12 years, we have collected 40 thousand gallons of recycled cooking oil that did not go down the drain, but got repurposed and reused in another way.”

Keep your FOG out of Jefferson County’s sewers + recycle grease at a recycling center near you.

For more on the modern, mobile guide to Birmingham, visit www.bhamnow.com.