Benefits of Restaurant Recycling

Published July 2, 2019

What do elephant ears, chicken wings, bacon, fish 'n' chips and cannoli’s all have in common? 

Deliciousness?  Yes, but something else.  Oil! (Which is what contributes to their deliciousness!)  And, many of these foods are also typically ordered through restaurants.  In our March blog we discussed what happens to used cooking oil.  Today, we delve deeper on the benefits of why we want restaurants to recycle their oils. 

How many restaurants are recycling used cooking oil?

It is estimated that there are over 1 million restaurants located in the United States- that makes for a lot of used oil to dispose of!  In 2018, the National Restaurant Association surveyed 500 restaurant owners and operators on their sustainability efforts and cited 64% are actively recycling their fats, oils, and grease.  McDonald’s, a leader in the fast food industry, implemented a food-sustainability focus where, as of 2016, they are recycling over 90% of their used fryer oil.  And just in case you are curious, they make up 1% of the million restaurants cited above.

Why are cooking oil and fats so important to recycling?

Utilization of vegetable oils has been on a steady incline since 2013.  Last year alone consumption topped 198 million metric tons.  Its use is widespread and can be found not only in the foods we eat but also the fuel we use, the food we feed our pets, the soap we use to wash our hands, the candles we burn, and the perfumes we spray- the list goes on and on and on. Naturally, as the demand continues to grow, so do the methods of disposal. Because of this, recycling has become the shining star of the cooking oil community.

What are the positive effects of recycling cooking oil?

Recycling these oils makes a positive impact on our environment, provides a consistent and growing source for fuel production and helps maintain the life of our pipes and plumbing. By focusing efforts on increasing our recycling efforts we can improve:

How do I start recycling my used cooking oil?

As we said in our previous blog, Onken understands the need to keep our planet healthy.  Taking the first step to properly contain your used oil points you in the right direction to begin your recycling efforts.  From there, we are happy to work with you to identify additional steps you can take to make a further positive impact on our environment. Please reach out to us at or 309-562-7271.