About the Cooking Oil Recycling Program
The Cooking Oil Recycling Program is a residential recycling program run by Blue Ridge Biofuels that serves multiple counties in Western North Carolina. Recycling bins made by T-Fab manufacturing in Asheville are conveniently located to allow area residents to easily recycle used cooking oils. When not disposed of properly, used oil poured down drains can adversely affect our water quality and cost our local communities tens of thousands of dollars in costly sewer repairs from pipe blockages.
Made possible in part through funding from the Biofuels Center of North Carolina and the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Cooking Oil Recycling Program engages multiple, diverse communities across Western North Carolina in recycling, reducing waste, and creating clean, local energy. With your help, the Cooking Oil Recycling Program will support the North Carolina Strategic Plan for Biofuels Leadership goal that by 2017, 10% of liquid fuels sold in our state will come from biofuels grown and produced in North Carolina.
Cost of Used Cooking Oil Disposal
Used cooking oil is one of the major causes of costly sewer maintenance. These sewer overflows take up valuable resources from local budgets for public works and are a potential threat to the environment and water quality. Sewer overflows due to clogs from used cooking oil can also adversely affect the health of local communities.
When poured down the drain, used cooking oil solidifies into thick layers inside drainpipes, constricting water flow similar to the blood flow in arteries. Over time, clogged sewers result in unsanitary conditions including overflows in the street, foul-smelling odors, and irreversible damage to sewer pipes. The Cooking Oil Recycling Program targets used cooking oil, fat, and grease before they become issues.
Advantages of Recycling Used Cooking Oil
One of the main hurdles to increased availability of low-cost biodiesel is the lack of cost-effective “feedstock” or the raw material that goes into producing biofuels. Soybean oil is the main feedstock for biodiesel in the US, but the cost of using soybean oil as a feedstock is not competitive to the cost of petroleum diesel. Used cooking oils, whether in the form of vegetable or animal fat, is a more cost-effective and more sustainable feedstock for producing biodiesel. Increased access to low-cost feedstock allows Blue Ridge Biofuels to produce more biodiesel that is the same price – or less expensive even – than petroleum diesel.
Biodiesel can be used in any diesel engine without modifications, including vehicles, off road equipment, and home heating furnaces. It is better for the environment with lower green house gas emissions. Biodiesel creates living-wage jobs and increases our fuel security. Best yet, it keeps money in our local economy.
By educating the communities of Western North Carolina and placing public recycling bins in accessible locations, the Cooking Oil Recycling Program seeks to keep used cooking oil out of the sewers and divert them to Blue Ridge Biofuels for processing into biodiesel for area customers.