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Ocean County, New Jersey begins cooking oil recycling

| August 26, 2013

Like some neighboring New Jersey cities, those in Ocean County can now recycle cooking oil at facilities in Stafford and Lakewood townships. The new recycling program kicked off after residents asked about proper disposal of leftover grease. Art Burns, Ocean County Superintendent of Recycling Operations explained that people were using sewers or garbage bins to dispose of used oils, fat, and grease.

Under the new oil recycling program, residents can collect and bring their used cooking oils to either of the two recycling centers at no cost. The collected oil and grease will then be sold to MOPAC Rendering of Souderton, PA. at between $1.30 to $1.45 per gallon where it will then be recycled into bio-fuel and animal feed.

Up to five gallons of grease and leftover cooking oil from each household can be dropped off every day at the centers, each of which has a 300-gallon tank to collect the waste. The recycling centers will accept  various oils including cooking oils from deep fryers and turkey fryers along with cooking pan grease leftover from roasts, fish, bacon and chicken. Unlike other New Jersey programs, this grease recycling program is limited to non-commercial residences.

Recycling cooking oil vs. tipping it down the drain

Cooking oil can be recycled efficiently to produce a host of products including biodiesel (fuel that can run machines and heat homes) and even bioplastic, an environmentally-friendly alternate to conventional plastic.

Dumping cooking oil down the drain, on the other hand, can clog sewage lines and cause backups. Oil does not behave the same way as other liquids. Once it cools down, cooking oil or grease will cling to the sides of a drainpipe, and overtime, it will cause severe blockages. Clearing and cleaning these blockages can set you back a great deal of money. San Francisco, for instance, spends over $3.5 million dollars every year to unclog pipes stopped up by used cooking oils.

oil recycling

While the Ocean County recycling program targets individual households, some corporations, like Sam’s Club above, have been recycling oil and grease for years. From Walmart Corporate.

Not only is disposing of oil in the sink costly from an economic perspective, it is also harmful to the environment. Draining oil into the sink can severely pollute water streams, even killing life under water. Fat, oil, and grease coats aquatic life, thereby depleting their oxygen supply and suffocating them.

Using cooking oil in composting

Even though vegetable oil is edible, it cannot become a part of your food compost bin. Inclusion of oil in your pile can turn food composting from an aerobic process into an anaerobic one. Oils make it hard for oxygen to get through the organic matter, prolonging the composting and the foul smell that goes along with it for a longer time. “It takes longer and smells worse while it’s happening—you know it’s anaerobic if it’s slimy and smells,” says Darby Hoover, senior specialist for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

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Category: Recycling programs

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