Cooking Grease Gets A New Life

Posted on: 27 July 2015


If you are like everyone else who has used a large amount of cooking oil for any reason, you have been faced with the problem of how to dispose of that oil after you were finished with it. While you have probably only had to deal with a gallon or two at a time, restaurants often have to deal with much more than that on a weekly basis. Lucky for them, this grease that used to be a waste product is now a hot commodity. It is being used to create biodiesel fuel, along with a host of other products.

These recycling options which have given cooking grease a new life, may have also solved your problems of what to do with yours.

What Is Biodiesel Fuel?

In an effort to reduce America's dependence on foreign oils, scientists looked for ways to create a renewable, clean-burning fuel. They did not have to look any further than a waste product they already had. This was the cooking oils and animal fats, which already posed a problem for disposal. From this waste, they created a fuel which is comprised of mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids that met the standards of ASTM D6751. This fuel became known as biodiesel. 

Meeting ASTM standards was important, as this meant the specific grades of fuels would be able to be run in diesel engines in the US, as well as Canada, without the engine having to have any modifications. Not only would the vehicle be able to run on biodiesel, but it could do so without voiding the vehicle's warranty.

Biodiesel can be found, and used in its pure form, which is called B100, or it can be blended with traditional petroleum diesel. Common blended forms include B2 (representing 2% biodiesel), B5 (5% biodiesel), and B20 (20% biodiesel). Always check with your vehicle's manufacturer to see which blend they recommend.

There are recipes on the Internet that will tell you how to make your own, or how to modify your engine to run off recycled vegetable oil. It needs to be noted, these experiments run the risk of ruining your engine and will definitely void any warranty you have.

Biodiesel Is Expecting Massive Growth

In a little over ten years, the biodiesel market has grown from 25 million gallons being produced in the early years of 2000, to approximately 1.7 billion gallons being produced in 2014. It is estimated that this market will continue to grow, and will hopefully be able to produce approximately 10% of the annual 35-40 billion gallons of diesel the country needs by 2022. This creation, and rapid growth of the biodiesel market not only have lessened our dependence on foreign oil, but it has also had other benefits.

  • Less dependence on foreign oil bolsters our national security, as well as reduces our trade deficit.
  • It is better for the environment and helps to address climate change. It produces less emissions than traditional diesel.   
  • Biodiesel is made from renewable resources, it is not toxic, easily biodegrades, and is safe to handle. 
  • Production of biodiesel contributes to the US job market. The fuel is currently being produced at approximately 200 plants across the country, which has created more than 62,000 jobs. These numbers are expected to continue to grow as production increases.

How Can You Benefit From Grease Recycling?

Because of the demand created by biodiesel, there are numerous companies around the country who are now interested in your cooking oil. Many of these companies have established oil recycling stations throughout most major cities. You can find these stations by calling your local recycling center.

If there is not a recycling facility available in close proximity to you, contact one of your local restaurants and ask them if you can dispose of your cooking oils in their containers. Since most places are now being paid by the amount collected, they will probably allow you to do so.

Recycling your cooking oil is a simple process.

  • Allow your oil, or grease, to cool to a safe temperature
  • Pour the oil into a bottle, or a jar with a secure top
  • Take the container to the closest recycling center
  • Pour the oil into the recycling container, and save your bottle for the next batch

Recycling cooking oil, and other types of grease, is the job of everyone. When done right, the grease can have another life and live again. Continue here for more information.