Recycled cooking oil has many uses
Cooking oil use is vital for area restaurants, but it is just as useful when it is repurposed.
Restaurants don’t see leftover oil after it is picked up, but it can be cleaned, recycled, and used in pet food, biofuel, or a variety of other uses.
In Marion County, that means working with either Dar Pro Solutions or Brooks Grease Services to get rid of the waste.
Dar Pro customers include Sonic and Wendy’s in Hillsboro, and Pop’s Diner in Peabody, while Brooks works with Wagon Wheel Express and Cazadore’s in Marion, and Coneburg Inn in Peabody.
Wagon Wheel has worked with both oil recyclers over the years, and restaurant co-owner Sherry Hess has done her own research on the side.
“You definitely need to know how to get rid of it,” she said. “I don’t know what they’d do otherwise.”
If not for the disposal companies, restaurateurs would have figure out how to get rid of the oil on their own, Hess said.
“We’d probably find somebody who uses it in their farm trucks,” she said. “Some people convert their engines to burn cooking oil, and we’d find someone who does that.”
Wagon Wheel uses five gallons of oil a week, which is picked up every other month.
To ensure the oil is properly recycled, companies have to filter out impurities like food. There are tighter regulations on oil recycled for certain products, though, which means it can’t be used for animal feed if degreasers are present.
Using gallons of oil every day especially expensive because restaurants pay for the pick up of their used oil, said Leora Ramirez, co-owner of Cazadore’s Mexican Restaurant. The owners say they use five gallons of oil a day.
“None of that’s a fee for customers, but it’s a fee for us,” she said.
Restaurants used to get paid for their oil, but that changed with tighter restrictions. Still, not having to pay for the storage unit is of its own advantage, Ramirez said.
“That’s a blessing for restaurants,” she said. “They suffer anyway, so to get the container for free, that’s a blessing.”