The Last Thing You Should Do with an Empty Soda Can in the Kitchen

published Dec 9, 2023
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Angled shot of bacon grease being poured into a diet coke can on a white surface.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Tom Hoerup

One of my favorite ways to manage my kitchen is to find ways to reduce waste. Sometimes that means stretching my family’s food budget by making stock from the rotisserie chicken we had for dinner. Other times it means putting all the food waste that I can into my heavy-duty garbage disposal (food in landfills is terrible for the environment). And then there are times when reducing waste means finding creative ways to reuse, repurpose, and recycle. 

I love saving glass jars to use as flower vases or salad dressing containers. I also love unexpected and whimsical problem-solvers, like a tomato sauce can turned utensil storage for the countertop. 

One of the best ways to minimize waste is turning something destined for the trash into something useful. Some examples include using aluminum foil to scrub casserole dishes or toilet paper rolls to organize appliance cords. Dealing with a problem by using “trash” is so satisfying. Here’s a new one: Use a soda can to hold bacon grease. 

Yes, bacon grease is delectable for frying, but if you’re not going to reuse it, you don’t want to pour the bacon grease down the drain because that can lead to clogs and plumbing problems. No, thank you! You can’t pour hot grease into the garbage can either, because it might melt your bag. 

Pouring the grease into a soda can is the perfect solution. It allows you to get the grease out of the pan to continue cleaning your cookware without unwanted consequences. The solution is also mess-free, unlike other options, such as soaking up the grease with a paper towel. 

To use a soda can to hold your bacon grease, hang on to a can and make sure the oil has cooled, but not hardened. You can pour the grease directly into the can if you feel confident enough to do so, or use a silicone funnel like I do. Leave the can on the counter so the grease can harden, keeping it somewhere where it’s not likely to get knocked over. Once the grease hardens, you can stash the can under your kitchen sink for next time.