The Wild World of Waste Grease

Fryer Recycle Global Green USA has been working on organic waste recovery—mainly food waste from restaurants—for a number of years (see NYC Mayor’s Food Waste Challenge and NYC Passes Historic Food Waste Bill). We know that one company's trash can be another company's treasure, and nowhere is this more true than in the world of used cooking oil, also called “yellow grease.” While it may not sound like the most appetizing product, over the last ten years yellow grease has gone from a waste that restaurants had to pay haulers to remove to a valuable commodity that restaurants can sell to be processed into biodiesel, a more sustainable alternative to petroleum-based diesel.

To better understand both the challenges and the opportunities, we took on the topic of waste grease as the focus of our latest resource recovery webinar. We heard from Dehran Duckworth of Tri State Biodiesel and Amanda Maeyaert of Wastequip, a waste industry equipment manufacturer, about the biodiesel market as a whole, the wild world of waste grease, and how cities can take advantage of the benefits of biodiesel recycling.

According to Duckworth, “Only around 30% of waste grease in NYC is picked up by licensed waste grease collectors.” If it's so valuable, why is so little getting recovered? The two main barriers to 100% yellow grease collection are improper disposal, either in the trash or down the drain, and theft. The good news is that policy, equipment and regulatory solutions are available to help increase waste grease diversion.

Check out the full report, “The Wild World of Waste Grease” here.

To find out more about getting a comprehensive biodiesel collection and production program started in your city, contact our Coalition for Resource Recovery staff or check out this document created by Santa Cruz, CA non-profit organization Ecology Action.