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San Francisco introduces a grease recycling program

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I ride the bus to work every day.  I can't say I always pay attention to the advertisements on the side of the bus...but there was one this morning that caught my attention.

 

The bus was decked out entirely with information all about a program from the city of San Francisco.  It's called SFGreasecycle.  The program is being run by the SF Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC).  It encourages San Franciscans to save their cooking oil to turn it into biodiesel!  Not only that, they're already collecting used cooking oil from participating restaurants to power city fleet cars, helping to meet Mayor Gavin Newsom's directive requiring that all fleet vehicles be fueled by B20 biodiesel.

 

According to SFGreasecycle, over $3.5 million is spent every year unclogging San Francisco sewers of solidified cooking oil.  But thanks to the SFPUC, there is now a Commercial Waste Oil Transfer Station in San Francisco to handle all of the waste vegetable oil from restaurants and residents.  It's a great upcycling initiative.

 

When it comes to the residential portion of the program, the bus advertisements (and the website) show how easy collection can be.  All you have to do is let your oil cool down, pour the excess amount into a jar, wipe off your pan with a paper towel, and throw the towel into your green compost bin!  For those of you in San Francisco, the next drop off event is November 28th through the 30th at Whole Foods and Costco.

 

Bsides its main objectives of keeping the sewers cleaner, providing the city with an easy disposal option, and helping the city become energy independent, the program is bringing cleantech jobs and training to Bay View-Hunters Point.

 

Kudos to San Francisco.

 


Edited by stins - Tue, 14 Oct 2008 22:45:47 GMT
post #2 of 8

That is freaking awesome.  Whenever I'm grilling something, I always have a hard time figuring out what to do with the grease.  As you noted, if you dump it down the garbage disposal, it causes serious problems in the sewer system.  This would be a particularly great program if they would provide the containers for you to put the grease in.  And not just disposing of the grease, but using it for biodiesel.  That kicks serious butt.

post #3 of 8

Glad to hear they are shoot'n for B20 and not something more "token" like B5.  If I remember correctly, B20 is the highest percentage mix that still works the same as regular diesel in cold weather without additives.  My wife is from Pacifica, so I have spent a great deal of time in the Bay area - it can get chilly.

 

"The coldest winter I ever spent ... was a summer in San Francisco." Mark Twain

 

LOL!!! - couldn't resist :-)

post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by stins:

According to SFGreasecycle, over $3.5 million is spent every year unclogging San Francisco sewers of solidified cooking oil. 

 

That is ridiculous.  I am sure that whatever machinery they use to unclog the sewers is not only expensive, but also creates its fair share of pollution.

 

I agree with dana, it would be nice if they provided some kind of containers.  I hope that the word gets out and a lot of people start doing this- I worry some folks would see it as a hassle.


Edited by nitedreamer - Fri, 17 Oct 2008 14:38:34 GMT
post #5 of 8

It really is a great idea - to think of all the grease over the years my Mom let harden in a can to just throw away... wasting the grease and not recycling the can.  My family does not seem to produce quite as much - we don't eat nearly as much beef or grease producing meals, but if the millions of families in this country had this option - that's alot of grease to produce fuel!

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Yeah, I thought it was pretty sweet when I saw that bus.  I've actually been carrying around my camera for the entire week hoping to see one of those buses again and snap a picture, but no luck thus far.

 

It would be cool if they provided some containers.  Although, I gather that the main emphasis for this is really taking the grease from businesses that produce greater quantities.  I think a big part of the residential stuff is just to get people aware of the situation.  I'm not sure how often they have drop-off events where they collect grease at Whole Foods and Costco, but residents can always take their oil directly to the SF Household Hazardous Waste Facility Thursday through Saturday.

 

I think it's great that they come pick up the grease from restaurants.  It makes the responsibility very minimal on the business's side of things and hopefully will encourage more places to sign up.

 

Actually, I just checked out the information about the program on the SF Recycling website and it's pretty cute...they have a picture of grease in used glass juice bottles.

post #7 of 8

I think you're right about targeting restaurants- and that is fantastic that they will come pick the grease up.

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

It's taken me a little while to finally spot one of the SF Greasecycle-advertising buses around the city, but I managed to spot one and take a photo of the back of it!  And if you look closely, you can even see a guy inside the bus waving for my camera.

 

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