• Jan 11th 2008 at 2:17PM
  • 10
Seriously: what do you do with your leftover cooking oil? Most people just pour it down the drain (not pointing any fingers, here). This is quite bad for a couple of reasons: first because it can affect waste water treatment plants and second because a potential fuel is lost. We have written a lot about how used oils can be made into car fuel before; today we have three more examples about global initiatives to raise awareness about recycling used oil.

Let's go first to Murcia, Spain. It's a region where water is scarce and the prospects of using recycled water seems very attractive. But not when it's got lots of fat in it. Therefore, the concession in charge of waste management has delivered free funnels to all households in the city of Molina de Segura which people can use with empty soda bottles. Once full, the bottles can be brought at any local grocery shop or school to be recycled.

Further north, in Scotland, in Kilmarock County, there's a project to use recycled oil for local bus transportation. The company exchanges used oil for bus tickets. A grease container has been delivered for free to all houses the bus lines serve.

Finally, Brazil is going large and has announced a network of small local biodiesel plants which would use waste oil from local restaurants and households. This network will be backed up financially by the Brazilian Society for Science Progress (SBPC). Brazil announced this project not only as something that will allow the country to produce enough biodiesel for its B2 introduction plans, but also because it is a positive social effect (involving citizens in recycling and creating local jobs). The plan is expected to be implemented next April but an experimental plant is already working in Indaiatuba (São Paulo). Biodiesel obtained with this procedure costs 40 cents per liter, compared to 90 cents for "all-new" biodiesel.

[Source: Cadena Ser, Agroinformación, Econoticias]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      I certainly appreciate those who turn cooking oil into fuel (and besides, pouring it down the drain can also clog it), but there are two important points to realize about this.
      1) Cooking oil would only supply a tiny amount of our nation's fuel demand (still, anything helps)
      2) Used cooking oil is already used for other purposes (in the US at least) - see:

      So to to do this on a large scale, you'd have to compete with those businesses, which would drive up costs, etc. In any case, it's not a "free" source of biodiesel (at least not on a large scale in the US). But then again, there is no silver bullet to our energy issues, so we need LOTS of small solutions, such as this one.
      • 7 Years Ago
      That's all fine stuff, and even a good solution to the problem of what to do with cooking oil after it's been used, but there just isn't enough used cooking oil in the whole world to run more than a tiny fraction of the US ground transportation.

      Economically viable biodiesel production is going to have to use oil that isn't edible as it's main feedstock (e.g., algae). Then the disposal and conversion of used cooking oil could be accommodated as a side-line.

      I'd still rather see SVO engines. Biodiesel production has already driven the price of glycerin into the toilet. Disposal of excess glycerin is probably going to be a bigger problem than dumping of used deep-fry, unless some high-value use can be found for the stuff.
      • 7 Years Ago
      adsa in uk did this years ago, it was advertised on the side of there trucks, from all the thousends of litres produced a day from its instore hot food sections.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I pour it into empty soup cans, freeze it, then chuck it in the garbage for pickup by the town service. I would appreciate having a way safely and hygienically to supply recyclers, e.g., NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) biodiesel makers.
      • 6 Years Ago
      it looks great to used this oil for recycling and make biodiesel,you guys doing a great job ,if few people can start with tht kind of ideas,the world could be better ,it is so easy to developped those kind of project because it wont takes any big investment,think that the government should give the example for the rest of the world for taking care of those kind of project.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Pouring used cooking oil down the drain can lead to cockroach infestations - don't do it! If there's a biodiesel producer in your neighborhood, that is indeed a far better disposal option.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The 1000 mile journey begins with the first step. I have confidence in our ability as people to care for the problem and as a first step all it takes is adopting a new habit and/or routine.

      Oils can be collected through http://www.EcoGreenSites.com in Santa Monica and many other cities.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Given the amount of cooking oil that is dumped in the sewer wouldn't it be cost effective to separate it at the treatment plant and convert it to bio-diesel? Collection is the greatist hurdle to recyling oil, the sewer delivers it.
      • 7 Years Ago
      These are great initiatives. Like you said there is no silver bullet but any good idea should be implemented, whatever the size. There is a website dedicated to the development of such small scale and local initiatives called www.oliomap.com . It's aim is to give a certain visibility to these projects aka businesses and show people there are ways to jump to affordable initiatives and start changing habits. Then will come the time to switch to more efficient alternatives. One step at a time...
      • 7 Years Ago
      It would be great to see greater coordination of households used oil disposal and biodiesel vehicle owners. Everybody wins, and several middlemen are eliminated from having to mess with used oil. Hopefully anybody who deep fries turkey knows the oil can be reused a few times before replacing. 325 degrees and 3 1/2 minutes per pound if I recall.
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