Reusing Cooking Oil
Oil. What is it?
We define oil as a liquid, viscous substance that does not mix with water but is miscible with other oils and can come from plants, animals or mineral origins. Vegetable oil, extracted from plants that contain triglycerides, is widely used in cooking, painting, cosmetics, and fuel (bio diesel). Mineral oil, on the other hand, is a product derived from petroleum distillation in the process of gasoline production and is used in a professional manner (as machine lubricant, for example) or for medical purposes (e.g., as a laxative).
World consumption of oil and its utilization for biodiesel
According to data from IEA (Institudo de Economia Agricola), biofuels (not toxic, bio origin fuel normally produced from one or more plants, fabricated from agro products like sugar cane, castor beans, soy, cassava, corn, etc.) have become more important as a result of efforts to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases and because of high petroleum prices. World production, including ethanol and biodiesel, went from 661,500 barrels per day in 2005 to 1.6 million barrels per day in 2009, of which 81% corresponded to ethanol.
Amongst the various vegetal oils, palm oil (or dende oil) is the most consumed vegetal oil worldwide with a representation of 32% of world consumption in contrast to other oils. It is very popular in Brazilian and Angolan cooking, and also in Candomblé, a Brazilian-African religion, where it is used in the creation of soap and candles, in the protection of tinplates and steel plates, and also in the fabrication of grease and lubricants. Its production is centralized in Malaysia and Indonesia, which correspond to 87% of the world’s supply. Soy oil (extracted from soy beans and used as a source of food) is the next most important and represents 29% of world consumption, with US leading grain production, followed by Brazil and Argentina. The use of canola oil (a conventional genetic improvement of rapeseed, which in its natural state is an oil used in the production of biodisel and others industrial functions) corresponds to 16% of world total, and EU is its main supplier, followed by China and Canada.
According to IEA the US occupies third place in the production of biodiesel (which is a renewable fuel and biodegradable, normally obtained from the chemistry reaction of lipids, oils or grease of vegetal or animal origin) and soy is the main prime matter. The country practically does not participate in the exportation of oils, in virtue of production being primarily consumed in domestic demand, even before the presence of biodiesel in its energetic matrix.
Graphic 1- World Consumption of Vegetal Oils, 2010/11.
Other vegetable oils are: olive oil, palm kernel and coconut.
Source: Prepared based on: UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF
AGRICULTURE. The Oilseeds Group. World markets and trade 2001-2011. Washington: USDA, 2011. Available on:
The effects cooking oil can cause to the environment
Cooking oil, as well as other materials, may be recycled. Today the vast majority of oil collected in large cities is sent to mills where it is converted into biodiesel. Many commercial establishments such as restaurants, bars, cafeterias, bakeries, hotels and residences throw used cooking oil into the sewer, which makes product degradation difficult, and when mixed with water it forms a dense layer that prevents the exchange of gas and becomes a problem for rivers, lakes and aquifers. The oil is lighter than water and creates a barrier, which inhibits the entry of light and oxygen, thus compromising the water-based feed. The depositing of these oils in sewage can also lead serious problems in the sewer system, causing blockages that can still cause floods or force the infiltration of the soil contaminating groundwater. To remove oil and unclog the pipes highly toxic chemicals are used, which end up creating a pernicious chain, a chain of pollution, or, in other words, end up polluting waters with toxic products.
- A single liter of oil thrown in the sewers can pollute about one million liters of water. That is equivalent to how much water one person consumes in approximately 14 years.
- The production of biodiesel from used vegetable oil benefits the environment and economy.
By agreement of the Kyoto Protocol and the guidelines of the CDM (Clean Development Mechanism), the reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases can be exchanged for carbon credits. Burning cleaner fuel can reduce the emission of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by an estimated 2.5 tons of CO2 per ton of biodiesel. The reuse of materials is one of the best ways to contribute to the marked reduction in the use of natural resources. And in addition cooking oil can be reused for manufacturing of soap. My idea is that cooking oil be collected for reuse as biodiesel or the manufacture of soap. By creating soap you can help with several problems at once. You can help the environment and can donate the soaps to poor families or commercialize them to raise money for institution.
How to reuse vegetable and animal oils as soap
The manufacturing of soap is easy and quick, anyone can do it. This recipe is intended for our college readers.
You must wear goggles, gloves, covered clothing, and closed-toe shoes!
Gather the materials and follow the directions below.
3 ½ of water
1 kg of lye (sodium hydroxide)
1 kg of cornmeal
5 liters of oil
Mixing of all liquids must occur in a glass container.
- Place 1 liter of water in a glass bowl, then heat up to 5 liters of oil and mix with water.
- Dissolve the cornmeal in a liter and a half of water and mix with the oil.
- Dissolve lye (sodium hydroxide) in one liter of water with a ladle of wood (caustic soda erodes, do not allow contact with the skin)
- Mix for 30 minutes until obtaining a creamy substance.
- Cool slightly and shape the way you want. Let cool and harden.
½ liters of caustic liquid (caustic soda; sodium hydroxide solution)
2 liters of oil
250ml of ethanol
1 ½ gallons of water
- Put all the materials described above in a bucket and stir well with a broom or spoon for about 40 minutes until the substance is creamy.
- During the process, it is possible to create a creamy liquid. This happens slowly so the liquid does not spill. When you can pull the substance out, shape the dough and let it dry for about eight days, it is recommended that you use only after it has dried. Remember that the longer you leave it to dry the soap will stay bright and better for use.
DISCLAIMER- All content in this article is for informational and educational purposes only. This procedure is designed to be used only by individuals 18 and over, and should not be conducted unless there is an appropriate level of supervision, safety training, personal protective equipment and other safety facilities available for users. Any users of these procedures assume all responsibility for the safe handling of hazardous chemicals and procedures. ISF, its officers, employees, volunteers and agents shall not be liable for any damages in connection with, or arising out of, the furnishing, performance, or use of these procedures. ISF, its officers, employees, volunteers and agents make no warranties, express or implied, as to results to be obtained from the information presented. Please visit the IS Foundation's terms and conditions at http://www.isfoundation.com/terms-and-conditions for more information.
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