detroit oil and grease collection

Used Cooking Oil Tanks

Indoor UCO Tanks on Wheels

There are many options for storing your used cooking oil for recycling. Indoor used cooking oil containers on wheels that can rolled under your countertops are a popular choice. Detroit grease offers 50 and 70 gallon sizes that can slide under your commercial sink.

70 gallon used cooking oil storage tank for under sink use
outdoor used cooking oil tank

Classic Outdoor UCO Tanks

Our most popular option is the classic outdoor container. These containers come in 150 gallon and 280 gallon sizes. They’re sturdy and reliable, with screens to prevent contaminants from falling into your oil, helping to preserve its quality and your rebate. Typically we place these bins in an enclosed space (fenced) or in a convenient spot in the parking lot, near the kitchen but accessible for the used cooking oil collector, Detroit Grease.

Indoor UCO Tanks

Indoor used cooking oil management systems will insure your employees never come into contact with oil. It will also:

  • Keep employees safe
  • Reduce accidents-spills, falls, burns
  • Lower insurance premiums
  • Keep your kitchen clean
  • Eliminate theft of used oil

Transporting used cooking oil is easy and we tailor it to your kitchen layout. You have a choice of direct connect, wand or caddy.

Used Cooking Oil Management Systems

A used cooking oil management system can be a valuable asset for some commercial kitchens using large quantities of oil regularly.

What is a used cooking oil management system?

A UCO system in a restaurant consists of a storage tank to hold used cooking oil for pickup, and various devices for getting the oil into that tank. The tank can be translucent so that you can see easily how full the tank is or it can be outfitted with electronic devices to provide real time web-based notifications to managers, as to how full the tank is. Envicor’s data management and notification system for their used cooking oil recycling systems is described here.

Tanks can be made of several materials such as stainless steel or polyethylene. Various tools can be used (direct connect, wand and caddy) to move the used cooking oil from fryers to the tank. The tool you choose will depend on the layout of your kitchen and the distance from fryer to tank.

The tanks provide access for a used cooking oil collector to attach their hose and empty the tank in order to recycle the oil.

What are the benefits of a used cooking oil management system?

First, the kitchen can be a dangerous place to work. The majority of foodservice general liability claims are slip and fall accidents, which often involve oil. In fact, hot grease causes more than half of the injuries among restaurant workers. These injuries cost restaurants more than $2B each year.

What are the costs? An accident and injury will usually end up with a workman’s comp claim, sometimes a lawsuit and definitely time off from work. This is a good description of what can happen when grease builds up in a restaurant.

Using a used cooking oil management system also keeps your UCO safe and out of the hands of dangerous thieves. This helps keep your employees safe, prevents thieves from spilling oil around your premises and you incurring the resulting cleanup cost.

If you are receiving compensation for your used cooking oil, then a UCO system ensures you have the oil there to provide your recycler in order to receive your rebate.

Your insurance company may even give you a break on your premiums if you have an indoor used cooking oil management system. If people aren’t transporting oil in buckets or carts or pots and they don’t have to trek outside to a bin that may not be next to the kitchen, the likelihood of an accident is greatly reduced.

More than 90% of commercial plumbing issues are the result of grease. We have all seen the stories of fatbergs, giant cooking oil based clogs of municipal waterway pipes. Municipalities are cracking down on restaurants that don’t properly dispose of their used cooking oil. No restaurant wants a front page story about fouling their city’s waterways. This Popeye’s restaurant in Detroit poured used cooking oil into a sewer grate and backed up the septic systems in neighbor’s houses causing flooded basements.

The EPA authorized organizations in every city can assess fines for violation of rules when it comes to introducing substances other than dirty water into municipal waterways.

How much does an indoor used cooking oil management system cost?

The large national companies which provide used cooking oil recycling systems usually lease their systems and services together. You pay and pay and rarely end up owning it. But, with Detroit Grease you can save a lot:

You can either:

Purchasing a system may run $5,000 to $20,000 depending on the size of the restaurant. Leasing a system might cost $500 to $800 per month. 

The best option for most restaurants is for your grease collector to install a system which you either receive the use of for free because you produce a lot of oil, or you compensate the collector via a reduced rebate. In the latter case, the collector will want a contract of reasonable duration to insure they are paid. 

How do you transport used cooking oil in the kitchen?

As beneficial as an indoor used cooking oil system is, the choice of method for transporting the used cooking oil from fryer to tank is just as important.

Direct Connect

The gold standard for transporting UCO from fryer to indoor holding tank is the direct connection. From a self-filtering fryer, a pipe is extended directly to the tank along with an electric on/off switch. This is the easiest, safest way to transport oil as the used cooking oil is contained from beginning to end. 

The Wand

Where a direct connection is not possible (fryers are not self-filtering for example) or desirable, the wand provides a perfect solution. The piping from the fryer to the tank is in place but withdrawing the oil from the fryer is done with a wand and a flexible piece of hose, to get the oil into the pipe and on its way to the tank.

The Caddy

The caddy is a wheeled cart with a small holding tank for momentarily storing the used cooking oil. It is typically inserted below the fryer and the used cooking oil is dropped into the caddy. The caddy is then wheeled to the indoor tank where the oil is either pushed from the caddy into the tank or it is sucked up by a pump on the tank. This method works very well where permanent piping from fryer to tank is not possible.  It is also the preferred solution where you have multiple kitchens in a building (hotel, casino, strip malls) and want to transport oil without a network of pipes.

Interestingly, filter carts or filter machines (which look much like caddies) can fulfill this same role. They provide the added benefit of being able to filter used cooking oil for reuse in the fryer. Filtering used oil has been found to increase the expected life of the oil by up to 50%. And with frying oil being a large and increasing component of restaurant expenses, filtering is a great way to save money while improving the taste of fried food.

What does the filtering of used cooking oil do for a restaurant?

The filtering of oil is a vital but often overlooked tool in the management of used cooking oil in a kitchen.

Cooking oil prices have soared from 2020 through 2023. Whether it was the war in Ukraine preventing sunflower oil from getting to market or climate change and dry weather destroying crops in Argentina or political blockades of palm oil in Indonesia the supply of cooking oil has been disrupted. 

So, if the price of cooking oil has pinched restaurant profits there are two possible solutions. One is to buy cheaper cooking oil but doing so risks the flavor of the food and possibly alienating customers. Two, is to extend the usable life of the cooking oil you use. If it is possible to extend the life of cooking oil by 50% then a restaurant reduces its cooking oil expense by 33%, a nice offset to the increase in prices.

So how does a restaurant go about extending the life of its used cooking oil. The first and most important step is to filter the oil. There are a variety of tools to filter oil. Filter machines are key:

Both are effective ways to clean your oil, extend the life of your oil and save money.

Another way to extend the life of your oil is to “polish” the oil. Polishing involves using a chemical filter to remove blood, protein and other impurities which is important if you are frying a  lot of meat, chicken or fish. Removing these contaminants will help extend the life of your oil.

Kitchen Best Practices to extend the life of cooking oil

Implementing best practices in the kitchen is not easy and might seem a mundane solution to extending the life of cooking oil but it works. Here is how to do it:

  1. Keep your oil at 375F or below. Higher temperatures break down oil more rapidly. Bring it to temperature slowly. Don’t crank up the heat too quickly.
  2. Rest your oil. Turn off fryers when not in use. The more heating time the faster the oil breaks down.
  3. Cover fryers when not in use to protect from contaminants.
  4. Keep salt and water away. Salt and water help breakdown oil so salt and season your food, but not over the fryer. And to the extent possible thaw frozen food before frying them.
  5. Skim the fryer. Get your fry cooks accustomed to skimming food particles from the tops and sides of the fryers every hour. This “manual filtering” will help reduce impurities in the oil which contribute to its breakdown.
  6. Test your oil. Most chefs look at the oil. Is it dark? Is it smoking? How do I know when to change the oil? The best solution is to use a test kit which will help ensure that you don’t over use the oil or swap it out when it still has useful life left. Here are some kits to help you test your oil- Miroil, Fry Oil Saver and Testo
  7. Boil-out cleaning. Do a boil out cleaning of your fryer at least once a month to remove the carbon deposits on the sides of the fryer and heating elements to reduce contamination of your cooking oil

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