Sun, Nov 03, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Group finds way to clean up after oil scare in soap

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Environmentalist group the Homemakers United Foundation has initiated a campaign to repurpose households’ unwanted edible oils into soap in the wake of the recent adulterated oil scandals.

The scandals erupted when it was revealed that several edible oil products had been adulterated, including “pure” olive oils mixed with cottonseed oil and flavoring agents, sesame oil blended with canola oil, and peanut oil made without peanuts.

The revelations have left many households unwilling to use their oil products out of safety concerns.

The civic group said that although the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) has been recycling household waste oil since 2007, many people do not know how to properly dispose of unwanted oil products.

The foundation urged the public to refrain from dumping oil down kitchen sinks, toilets or sewers because this can block pipes, create bad smells and even pollute water with endocrine disrupting chemicals contained in detergents used to wash the oil down.

In addition to packing unwanted oil products into clear containers to give to cleaners for recycling, as the EPA recently urged households to do, the foundation said the public can also recycle oils into soap.

The edible oils that can be used to make soap must either be clean and unused, or have only been used to fry food once or twice before being filtered, the foundation said. Salad, soybean, olive and blended oils are all acceptable, it added.

The civic group said it has posted recipes for making soap at home on its Web site and is also holding classes at its local branches to teach the craft.

All the ingredients and containers required for soapmaking are easy to acquire, making it an ideal way to give renewed value to unwanted oils, it added.

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