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Used Cooking Oil Focus of Hillsborough County Pollution Prevention Week Sept. 21-27

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The best way to protect the Earth and its people is to stop creating pollution in the first place – that realization became America's official policy in 1990 with the Pollution Prevention Act. Now, 25 years later, that message continues to be a call to action through the annual Pollution Prevention (P2) Week, to be held September 21-27 this year.

The Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County (EPC) and Hillsborough County Public Utilities Department reminds residents that improper disposal of used cooking oil and grease can impair the county’s wastewater collection system and lead to damage to home plumbing. The County’s C.O.R.E. – Cooking Oil Recycling Effort offers free collection jugs and drop-off locations for residential used cooking oils. Look for the brightly-colored, free-standing C.O.R.E. cabinets at 12 locations including six public libraries; residents are also encouraged to use their own containers, as long as they have a tightly sealed lid.

Types of grease that can be recycled include canola oil, corn oil, lard, olive oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil and vegetable oil and cooking oils that include frying oil, and bacon and hamburger drippings. To learn more about the C.O.R.E. program and to see a list of CORE sites, go to

“When fats, oil, and grease are rinsed down the drain, they solidify and harden inside household plumbing, sewage pipelines, and sewage lift stations, causing line blockages,” says Jeff Greenwell, manager of the C.O.R.E. program for Hillsborough County Public Utilities. “When lines are blocked, it leads to sewer overflows that can endanger the public health and the environment.”

“The fats, oils, and grease that form these blockages don’t just come from frying, but can come from food ingredients we use in our homes every day, such as meats, butter, margarine, salad dressing and cooking oils. By participating in C.O.R.E, residents can help protect the environment, keep home plumbing and the County’s sewer system running properly, and feel good knowing that something they were throwing away is being recycled into usable products like biofuels.”