Local News

Cooking grease to become bio-fuel in Cary

Posted November 27, 2008

— One North Carolina town wants residents to leave used cooking oil on the curb.

Officials in Cary recently launched a pilot program that provides curbside pickup of used cooking oil and grease. They want to keep residents from dumping grease down their kitchen drains, which clogs pipes and has helped cause nearly two dozen sewer overflows since 2006.

“Some folks just aren’t aware of the potential problems that cooking oils and greases can have in their sewer system,” Cary Public Works and Utilities Pretreatment Technician Donald Smith said.

Cary residents can dispose of large quantities of cooking oil and grease by appointment until Jan. 30, 2009.

To participate in the program citizens should call the Public Works and Utilities Customer Service line at 919-469-4090 to schedule the free pickup. A minimum half-gallon of oils and grease are required prior to collection.

The disposable liquids must be placed in a sealable food container with a lid and labeled as “Waste Cooking Oil.” 

Any oil or grease left at the curb during regular collection days without a scheduled appointment will be tagged with a letter to contact Public Works.

City officials are hoping to collect 200 gallons of grease during the program. The used oil and grease will be given to Triangle Biofuels in Wilson for recycling.

"We just think it's a good way of recycling and reusing," Smith said.


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  • yabbadabbadooo Dec 1, 2008

    uh - worland.... you can't run straight or waste vegetable oil in a normal diesel - the oil needs to be preheated to work - most of those systems rely on the diesel fuel running the motor till the motor, and the oil lines get hot, then you switch over.

    For the town to product it - there is also the cost for setting up a conversion facility... the conversion relies also on ethanol or methanol, and lye. You need a lot of that to create biodiesel. Not as simple as collecting the oil.... and it costs a LOT to create a large scale production facility... and staff it, maintain it, get the other raw materials. PLUS the used oil mentioned in the article.

    The by product is glycerol, not any type of nitrate anything - you have to add the nitrates... so you could make nitro glycerin, if you had nitric acid. With the glycerol you could have a nice line of soaps maybe... but not gunpowder (technically a propellant anyway - not an explosive).


  • something2say Nov 28, 2008

    I think James has the best Idea yet! Much more cost effective.

  • james27613 Nov 28, 2008

    The local supermarkets should collect the used oils,
    just like the local jiffy lubes, etc collect used oil.

    You are going to the market anyway, so you bring the
    jug of used oil for recycling.

  • kittiboo Nov 28, 2008

    Fantastic. This makes a lot more sense than banning garbage disposals. It makes use of waste, and keeps people from pouring it down the drain. I'd love to have someone come pick up my grease and put it to use- and if you deep fry something a couple times a month you'd easily get a half-gallon or more. They should provide everybody with a big 5 gallon bucket and liners, and just collect the bags of grease along with the trash, so that they aren't spending more fuel to come get it.

  • superman Nov 28, 2008

    Cary will probably do the same as the post office does downtown. They had two mail collection boxes side by side-- one said In-town or local and the other box was Out of town. When they collected the mail--(I was standing waiting to cross the street) the postal carrier emptied both of the mail boxes into the same box on their truck! Each metal box probably cost 1,000 or so and people thought they should sort the mail between the two boxes. USPS dumped all the letters together in the same box!

  • OSX Nov 28, 2008

    NotFromHere... Going with your number of 5000 gallons. It is probably cheaper to just go pick up the cooking oil verses the expense of cleaning 5000 gallons of oil out of the sewer system. Seems like a proactive idea to keep people from doing what they are not supposed to.

  • Worland Nov 28, 2008

    You can run that used cooking oil in your diesel engine without having to render it into Bio-Diesel. Bio-Diesel requires a rather elaborate rendering process and harsh chemicals. Just filter the used oil and run it as-is (summer only as all bio-fuels tend to gell in cold weather). People have been doing it the simple way for decades... collecting used fry oil from burger joints. What fuel will I use today? Taco Bell or Burger King?

    They'd probably make more money selling the grease/fat/oil to a rendering plant to make gun powder and other nitrate explosives.

  • stonky Nov 28, 2008

    Kool,Now When I go to Cary,instead of kicking over garbage cans, Ill knock over the grease bin

  • NotFromHere Nov 28, 2008

    You all seem to be pretty small minded about this. If even 1,000 families deep fry a turkey over the holidays and then recycle the oil, that is 5,000 gallons of cooking oil Cary is keeping out of our landfill and sewer system.

  • OLD PIRATE 2 Nov 28, 2008

    The current price of ethonol is higher than gasoline...lets keep it that way.