Keep Your Holiday Season Sustainable with Biodiesel

Posted on November 26th, 2019

Every holiday season, people across the country cook up big, delicious dinners, often leaving behind a significant amount of used cooking oil. Rather than letting that oil go to waste, filling landfills, or clogging drains, biodiesel producers nationwide are recycling it to make clean burning biodiesel.

NBB estimates that nearly 2 billion pounds of used cooking oil is diverted from landfills each year. Thanks to robust recycling programs throughout the country, the volume from these programs continues to grow, making recycled cooking oil the second largest oil source for biodiesel.

An average Thanksgiving turkey can generate about a cup of fat, and much more for those that deep fry their turkeys. This fat and used cooking oil are a common waste product without much benefit outside of being recycled. As a result, many people often pour it down their sinks, which can clog pipes and lead to damaging sewer build ups. Fortunately, biodiesel producers can take this low-value oil and turn it into a sustainable product.

Photo of Turkey Frying

Recycling cooking oil for biodiesel production is a great step for any family or restaurant looking to reduce their food waste. The oil is collected and refined into renewable energy instead of an environmentally destructive alternative.

When biodiesel first came on the scene, it was common practice for restaurants to pay to have their grease hauled away. Today, it’s standard for companies to have the used oil removed at no cost to them due to its value in renewable energy.

Recycling always provides sustainability benefits but using used cooking oil for biodiesel enhances those benefits to include cleaner air and less harmful emissions than traditional diesel fuel. While the majority of biodiesel is made from vegetable oils, the diversity of America’s advanced biofuel allows an even greater impact on sustainability through waste products like used fats and oils.

Many recycling centers began collecting used cooking oil around Thanksgiving and will continue to do so through the end of the year. Places like Louisville, KY; Lakewood, NJ; Dorchester County, SC; and others have all advertised their grease recycling efforts, but be sure to check with local recycling centers to find the closest available location.

Biodiesel’s ability to use these fats and oils and turn them into renewable fuel is what makes biodiesel such an active player in reducing food waste and overall sustainability initiatives. Biodiesel has been reducing food waste for more than two decades and we’ve only just begun!

Samantha Turner serves as the Communications Manager for the National Biodiesel Board.

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