Suffolk residents have been praised by eco-firm Living Fuels this week, for helping to generate green electricity to make over 10 million cups of tea, all by recycling their used cooking oil.
Waste cooking oil is traditionally a difficult waste to dispose of, with a recent poll of homeowners admitting that pouring it down the drain is their preferred method of disposal. However, not only does getting rid of used oil this way cause damage to wildlife and watercourses, it also costs UK taxpayers an average of £15 million each year in bills for blocked drains.
However, there is another way to recycle old oil; Suffolk County Council in partnership with Waste Recycling Group (WRG) and Living Fuels offer a waste cooking oil recycling service, at no cost to the taxpayer, which helps rid residents of a difficult waste and at the same time save the environment.
The scheme, which began in 2008, sees used cooking oil tanks placed at 11 of the county’s household waste recycling centres, for residents to deposit their used cooking oil. Once collected, the oil is taken to Living Fuels’ state-of-the-art recovery facility in Norfolk and there recovered 100% naturally into clean, green electricity that is fed into the National Grid at times of unexpected power demand.
Just one litre of oil can produce enough green electricity to power an energy saving light bulb for 225 hours, run a plasma computer for 50 hours or a DVD player for 440 hours.
Living Fuels Operations Director Rob Murphy said of the scheme: “It’s brilliant to see such enthusiasm for used cooking oil recycling, and residents should all give themselves a huge pat on the back. It’s great to think that such a difficult waste product is being turned into something so beneficial for the environment.”
Councillor Lisa Chambers Suffolk County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Waste, continued: “We are really pleased that an item that had previously been disposed of by flushing down the sink and causing a problem for the water companies is now being turned in to energy. With the special oil collection containers being sold from the HWRCs we are making it as easy as possible for people to recycle their used cooking oil.”
Gordon Fergus, WRG’s Group Commercial Manager, said: “As a leading operator of HWRCs in the UK, providing effective recycling solutions to the public through their local authorities, we’re always keen to extend the range of materials that can be productively and economically recycled.”
To purchase a used cooking oil container, complete with filter for ease of storage, please visit either the Lowestoft, Foxhall, Bury St. Edmunds or Stowmarket HWRCs.