Thanksgiving Day is a holiday in which Americans not only overstuff themselves with food to the point of misery, but also generate tons of kitchen fat, oil, and grease (FOG). Most people know that dumping the fats of meat, dairy products, and lard is terrible for the sewer system.
Industry collection agencies and restaurants are no stranger to FOG, and have been dealing how to discard this waste for years. FOG is so damaging that Long Beach, CA must perform maintenance on its sewer infrastructure every few months due to massive clogging.
This costs customers upwards of $400,000 per year and can cause up to 20 sewer overflows annually. Everyone knows the downsides of FOG, but few know the beneficial uses of the cooking waste.
Using butter, an 800 lb. butter sculpture of Benjamin Franklin to be exact, biochemist Michael J. Hass worked with BlackGold Biofuels to design and create the largest FOG collecting and converting programs in the US. Each day, the company extracts up to 330 gallons of biodiesel from 12,000 gallons of wastewater. Hass and his team set the bar for creating biodiesel, and other companies are trying to keep up.
EDCO, a waste collection company that serves Los Angeles and surrounding counties, offers free pickup of FOG to people in surrounding neighborhoods. EDCO offers the collection free of charge as long as the discarded FOG is in a leak-proof container. They will then funnel it for processing, filter it, and convert it to biofuels using a third party. San Francisco, on the cutting edge of the green movement, already offers a similar program.
The possibility of using FOG to create biodiesel is a reality. The next step is to promote large scale awareness to consumers and implement programs that encourage consumers to collect and donate their FOG to create biodiesel.