Prison’s chips generate cash for charity


When you think about fundraising for charity, your thoughts don’t immediately turn to the kitchen. However, HMP Birmingham, in partnership with eco-firm Living Fuels, has done just that, by collecting used cooking oil from their kitchen and turning it into cash for charity.

In fact, HMP Birmingham excelled themselves in 2011 by collecting enough to make them the highest generating prison in the Midlands region and so were invited by Living Fuels to choose a charity for them to make a donation to. They have kept a local connection and have made their nominated charity for this year Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Hamish Shilliday, Hospital Fundraiser said: “It is fantastic to see a respected local service show their support for our children in such an original way, thank you so much from everyone at Birmingham Children’s Hospital”

The scheme not only sees prisons’ used cooking oil generating cash for charities, but at the same time is reducing the UK’s dependency on fossil fuels by producing green electricity for use in businesses and homes across the UK. A used cooking oil tank is placed on site for prison kitchens to dispose of their waste oil and once full, Living Fuels collect the oil and take it to their state-of-the-art recovery facility where it is recovered into a 100% natural and renewable bioliquid without the use of chemicals. This bioliquid is then fed through standard diesel engines and turned into electricity, which provides energy to 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.

HMP Birmingham’s Head of Community Engagement – Tony Birch said: “HMP Birmingham are extremely proud of the recent recycling award, and will endeavour to support this and similar projects which enable the prison to lower its carbon footprint.”

Living Fuels’ Operations Director, Rob Murphy continued: “It’s great that we have been able to work with the prison service and help to reduce the country’s carbon impact, while at the same time doing something beneficial for charity. We’d like to thank HMP Birmingham for all the great work they’ve done in the past year, and we look forward to a great continued partnership.”