Recycling Used Oil from the Commercial Kitchen
Oil waste disposal is no longer the problem it once was, thanks to developing energy technologies. It is now possible to convert many used oils into biodiesel fuel—a renewable source of energy derived from vegetable oil. For this reason, "yellow grease" collected from fryers and grease recovery devices has become a valuable commodity.
Many grease collectors, non-profit organizations and biodiesel companies are more than happy to haul away oil waste from grease recovery devices or give restaurants and other food service businesses free bins for depositing their spent fryer oil. These companies do not usually charge fees, and often they will even pay you for the oil waste.
If you have the opportunity to recycle your oil, do so. Here are a few reasons to convert used oil into biodiesel:
- Earn money. As fossil fuel costs rise, so does the value of reusable oil waste. Many companies will pay you for your fats, oil and grease (FOG) waste.
- Minimize waste. Biofuels help the environment by keeping an otherwise wasted commodity out of landfills.
- Reduce air pollution. Burning biofuels produces fewer airborne pollutants than burning petroleum-based energy products.
- Help the economy. Selling your oil to nearby biofuel producers supports your local economy and decreases your region's dependency on outside sources of fuel.
To start saving energy dollars, evaluate your business needs and see what changes you can make to take advantage of the latest developments in energy technology.
- Use biodiesel fuel in place of petroleum-diesel fuel. Biodiesel fuel costs less per gallon and can be used without making any modifications to your diesel engines. Various communities around the country are already using locally-produced biodiesel fuels for their public vehicles, such as garbage trucks and buses.
- Consider using fryer-oil fuel. Running your vehicles and commercial equipment directly off of used fryer oil has become a viable option with the latest conversion kits. They do require an investment, but the payback period can be surprisingly short.
Oil waste from fryers and automatic grease recovery devices is almost always usable and easy to convert. Low-grade "brown grease" removed from passive grease traps can often be converted, too, although it is more difficult. If you are worried about the usability of your oil waste, look for a company that will haul and convert brown grease.
More from Going Green...
- Why Go Green in the Commercial Kitchen?
- Going Green in Your Commercial Kitchen: First Steps
- Investing in Green Equipment for Your Commercial Kitchen
- Greenwashing: Not All Things Green are Gold
- Training Your Commercial Kitchen Staff to Go Green
- Green Glossary
- Seals and Certifications in the Commercial Kitchen
- Top 10 Energy-Saving Tips for the Commercial Kitchen
- Energy Assessments for the Commercial Kitchen
- Energy-Efficient Hoods in the Commercial Kitchen
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