Cooking Sustainably with Oil

By Celeste Butts

Over the past century, the supply chain of food has become so distanced from the buyer it’s easy to forget that everything comes from natural resources, laborers, and unique ecosystems. Cooking oil is no different. Most eat at least one cooking oil every day, but not all oils are made the same.

Cold-pressed, expeller-pressed, virgin, extra virgin, oxidized, hydrogenated, or partially hydrogenated are some of the ways oils are harvested from fruits, vegetables, and nuts.  The increasing demand of oils like palm, coconut, vegetable, and olive has created a new type of “big oil”.  Soil erosion, deforestation, unregulated labels, greenhouse gas emissions, eutrophication, and biodiversity losses are increasing all around the world because of cooking oils.

It isn’t hard to find sustainable oils. The next time you’re shopping just keep in mind a few questions:

  • Is the smoke point appropriate for the dish?
  • How is the oil extracted and refined?
  • Does the company use sustainable farming practices?
  • Are the laborers fairly compensated and safe?
  • Can you recycle the container?

Always remember to recycle your cooking oil to prevent clogged pipes and reduce the strain on our purification systems. During warmer months Recycle Utah accepts all cooking oils.

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