The rise of Used Cooking Oil from waste to biofuel
What is Used Cooking Oil?
Once cooking oil has been used and is no longer fit for purpose i.e. cooking food for human consumption, it is considered a waste and referred to as Used Cooking Oil (UCO). It gets collected and is subsequently converted into fuel for vehicles or heating.
Since 2005 with the introduction of the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation the volumes of UCO collected have increased steadily to a 2013 estimate of 250 million litres. Regular diesel fuel now contains up to 5% biodiesel generated from UCO – something Rudolf Diesel the inventor of the engine which bears his name would be pleased with – his first attempt was an engine which ran on coal dust, but he later re-designed it to run on vegetable oil.
It’s important for food businesses to understand how waste oil can affect commercial operations, what the opportunities are for managing it and the best practice for its disposal:
- Each litre of used cooking oil tipped down the drain costs you 14 pence through water utility bills.
- Ever heard of fatbergs? Fat, oil and grease cause major problems to drains and sewers – in fact they are responsible for up to 80% of sewer flooding incidents in the UK.
- The annual bill for clearing blocked drains is £15 million – a cost passed on to the customer.
From waste to biofuel
- Because UCO is no longer fit for human consumption it is considered a second (rather than first) generation biofuel which means it has a lower impact on the environment.
- Just one litre of used oil can power a phone charger for 1000 hours or create enough ‘green’ energy to make 240 cups of tea.
- McDonald’s collects more than 600,000 litres of used cooking oil from its London restaurants each year, converting it to biodiesel to run half its fleet of lorries. Could other transport businesses do the same?
How you can dispose of it
- Number one – don’t put it down a drain!
- If you produce waste cooking oil as part of your business, then you have a duty of care to have it collected and disposed of by an authorised company.
- We offer a FREE collection to all our food waste customers and can provide you with a fully compliant service.
For enquiries you can get in touch on 0800 644 6619 or email “email@example.com”:firstname.lastname@example.org