Local News

Cooking oil gets kicked to curb in Raleigh

Posted November 9, 2009 7:18 a.m. EST
Updated November 10, 2009 10:53 p.m. EST

— A lot of turkeys will be cooked in the next two months.

The City of Raleigh hopes the cooks will use a new recycling program to get rid of used cooking oil.

The targets of the program are residents like Stephen Ludwig, a former restaurant worker who cooks a lot at home.

"(I use) probably half-a-quart a week, a quart" of cooking oil, Ludwig said.

Raleigh's curbside cooking-oil recycling program is designed to keep that grease out of sewer lines. Once poured down a sink drain, the oil solidifies in pipes.

"It acts like a super-glue almost, so that anything else you send down the drain kind of sticks," said Marti Gibson, the city's environmental management system coordinator.

Once solidified and stuck to the pipes, the oil can block sewer lines and cause sewage overflows.

Under the curbside recycling program, city crews will collect residents' old cook oil.

Call the city to let them know you have some cooking oil. Put it in a plastic container with a lid, and write "cooking oil" on the side. Then put it out with your regular recycling.

The collected cooking oil will be transformed into biofuels by Triangle Biofuels in Wilson, which is paying Raleigh 25 cents for every gallon of used oil.

"It's a waste product which we're recycling, re-using to a very good purpose," said Rich Cregar, an automotive instructor at Wake Technical Community College and a faculty fellow at the Institute for Emerging Issues at North Carolina State University.

The pilot program runs through Jan. 15, 2010. If it's successful, city officials might create a year-round cooking-oil recycling program.