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You can responsibly dispose of more than just your Christmas tree at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve during the holidays; you can also help degrease the public water system. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 26 through Jan. 15, Southern Nevada residents can take their used cooking oil to the South Parking Lot of the Springs Preserve and drop it off for recycling. It’s part of the Clark County Water Reclamation District’s ongoing Pain in the Drain campaign to keep pipe-clogging fat and grit out of the sewers.

“A big impetus for this program is to reduce the number of sanitary overflows we’re experiencing,” says Julie Chadburn, who oversees the program. “When people clog their drains at home, that’s bad enough, but it’s a much bigger issue when that happens in the street.”

Since Pain in the Drain began nine years ago, overflows have decreased 90 percent, according to Chadburn. Cooking oil has been collected at a few locations during the holidays, when people tend to use more of it (we’re looking at you, deep-fried turkey lovers), but the Springs Preserve has worked well because of its central location and recycling-savvy staff. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, Springs Preserve staff collected more than 600 gallons of used canola, olive, peanut and vegetable oil, which program partner Darling International will turn into biofuel.

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If you’re looking to earn sustainability karma points, here’s what to do:

Step 1. Dump a bunch of oil into whatever you’re using to render food into a crispy delicacy.

Step 2. Render food into a crispy delicacy and enjoy.

Step 3. Once the oil’s cool, funnel it back into the bottle, jug or other receptacle whence it came, and seal tightly.

Step 4. Drive it over to 333 S. Valley View Drive and hand it over.

The giving need not stop after the holidays, either. Republic Services takes used cooking oil as part of its Household Hazardous Waste collection program. Click here for a schedule and drop-off locations.

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