Oil is one of the most commonly reported types of water pollution and causes nearly a quarter of all pollution incidents. Careless disposal of oil into drainage systems,onto land or to watercourses is not only an offence but can be harmful to river birds, fish and other wildlife. Although oil does break down in water it uses up vast amounts of oxygen in the process, hence removing oxygen that would otherwise have remained in the waterways for wildlife.
Because of the way oil spreads, even a small quantity can cause a lot of harm. It is estimated that UK caterers produce between 50 - 90 million litres of waste cooking oil each year and if this is not disposed of correctly the effects of oil pollution on the environment could be quite devastating.
The Environmental Protection Act 1990 places a Duty of Care on every industry to ensure "that all reasonable steps are taken to look after any waste you have and prevent its illegal disposal by others", this includes waste cooking oils and fats.