What happens to your old batch of cooking oil when it has fried its last
fry? That yellow oil can boost your facility’s green credibility and may even be
able to turn a profit for you.
Keep cooking oil out of the landfill and
sewers and put it to work again with a
Cooking oil has been recycled for years
into goods like animal feed and cosmetics, but new recycling initiatives offer a
greener second life, explains Rory Gaunt,
CEO of Lifecycle Renewables, a recycler
that hyper-refines used oil into renewable
diesel fuel. Biodiesel, which is created by
chemically altering the properties of fats,
is another option for using your discarded
oil to green your fleet. No. 2 heating oil
can also be replaced with products made
from cooking oil.
In addition to reducing the volume of
what you send to the landfill, the oil itself
can be worth money.
“Vendors will give a price for service
based on what the market says the oil is
worth,” Gaunt explains. “Until about seven
years ago, customers paid about $1 per gallon to have the oil removed. Since then, the
market swung roughly $2 the other way,
meaning that vendors would pay customers
up to $1 per gallon for their old oil. Now the
value has gone back down again. Know the
commodity value of yellow grease so you
can understand where the value is and how
that impacts service costs.”
How to Set Up Your Program
Develop a service agreement with your
vendor that accounts for these seven considerations.
1) How much oil are you producing?
Know how much you’ll use in a week or
month and how many locations on your
property need recycling. “You don’t want
employees carrying oil too far to store it.
Large institutions like university campuses
typically have multiple service locations
where the waste oil is presented for pickup,” explains Gaunt.
2) How big should your oil container
be? Vendors can offer multiple sizes – for
example, Gaunt’s average customer produces about 12 gallons per week and has a
7 Tips for Recycling Cooking Oil
Find a partner who will turn your fryer waste into dollars
storage capacity of about 100 gallons split
between two barrels. To find the right size
for your facility, consider how much space
you can realistically dedicate to storing oil,
“Some sites don’t have space to put
down a 300-gallon container, which has a
footprint of about 3. 5 by 5 feet. However,
if you have something smaller on site, that
raises concerns with traffic – how many
times will a truck come for pickup?” says
Gaunt. “That frequency also affects the
cost to the service provider.”
3) How often should your container
be picked up? Your rate of pickup and
the size of your container affect each
other, notes John Remstedt, Owner and
President of Grease Masters, which provides cooking oil recycling and grease trap
cleaning. Remstedt recommends having
your oil container picked up at least every
two months to discourage theft.
“You don’t want the oil sitting out any
longer because there is a huge grease
theft problem,” Remstedt explains. “It’s a
tradable commodity. We provide locking
containers and people will come out with
saws for them.”
4) How cold is your area in the
winter? Your oil has to be flowable when
it’s picked up, so facilities in areas with
harsh winters will have to heat their con-
tainers during colder months, Remstedt
says. Some vendors offer containers
with a built-in heating element that can
keep oil from solidifying.
5) How clean is your oil? Filter your
oil instead of pouring it directly into the
containers, Remstedt recommends –
your rebate will be smaller if the ven-
dor has to remove a deposit of accu-
mulated food waste on your behalf.
Also be careful not to contaminate
it with the wrong grease sources,
Remstedt says: “A lot of people will
put the grease trap waste in the oil
container because it says ‘grease.’ A
grease trap is raw sewage, not used
cooking oil, so now the whole container is contaminated.”
6) How will you safeguard against
spills? Most spills are created by customers, but a reputable vendor should
keep the area around the disposal container clean, Remstedt says.
7) What other services are available?
Many vendors offer additional services
that can be bundled with oil recycling to
lower costs, Gaunt says. Consider asking
your prospective vendor about adding
cleaning and maintenance for exhaust
hoods, grease traps, drains and kitchen
Janelle Penny janelle.penny@buildings.
com is Senior Editor of BUILDINGS.