Talladega might turn waste grease into biodiesel

You've got waste grease plugging city sewers and causing spills. You want to save money on fuel. You want to help the environment. What do you do? If you're Talladega (Alabama) public works director James Swinford, you propose a grease recycling/biodeisel manufacturing process for your town.

Swinford was impressed with a similar system in Daphne, Alabama, and thinks Talladega could really benefit from collecting a lot of waste oil in town and refine it into biodiesel. How much grease can a town of Talladega's or Daphne's size (~18,000 people) waste? Rob McElroy, general manager of the Daphne Utilities System, told the Daily Home that, "If every home in Daphne put just one teaspoon full of oil per day down a drain, it would be the equivalent of dumping seven 55 gallon drums per month into the sewer system." Down in Alabama, it's likely that more than a teaspoon a day goes down the drain. McElroy continued, "And no southerner would ever think of cooking green beans without putting half a cup of bacon grease in there with them. Lots of people think it's okay just to flush that down the (sink) after you drain the beans out, but that liquid grease thickens and solidifies when it hits the cool water, and that can plug up sewer lines."

To encourage waste grease collection, Daphne city officials started up a public education campaign and then built a dozen or so recycling stations in town. Today there are about 20 in "high traffic areas, such as Wal-Mart, common areas of apartment complexes, grocery stores, gas stations and other easily accessible locations." Residents get free jugs to keep at home to pour the grease into and bring full jugs to the recycling stations. The town now collects 400-500 gallons of grease a month and has seen a 40 percent drop in sewer spills and sewage backing up into manholes, McElroy said.

As for the biodiesel, the article describes how a homebrewer helped get town officials started and they are happily burning as much biodiesel as they can make each month. Read the whole thing for the inspiring details.

[Source: Daily Home / Chris Norwood]

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