Residents of Walsall are being praised this week for helping to create enough clean, green electricity to make almost one million cups of tea, all by recycling their used cooking oil.
Walsall Council, in partnership with May Gurney and renewable energy company Living Fuels first placed used cooking oil recycling tanks at their household waste recycling centres in 2010.
The tanks form part of the council’s dedication to helping increase the county’s recycling rate to 45% by 2015, while at the same time providing residents with a safe and environmentally friendly way to rid themselves of waste oil.Councillor Tom Ansell, Transport and Environment portfolio holder said of the scheme: “This is a really environmentally friendly initiative, both in terms of the waste oil being diverted from our drains and landfill, and in the energy being created from recycling what is essentially a waste product”.
When disposed of down drains, used cooking oil solidifies causing blockages that cost the UK an average of £15 million per year in drain disposal, while disposal to landfill often damages nearby watercourses and wildlife.
Once collected the used cooking oil is taken by Living Fuels to their state-of-the-art facility, where it is recovered into a bioliquid without the aid of any chemicals or heat. This bioliquid is then fed into the National Grid to help power the country during times of unexpected power demand.
Rob Murphy, Operations Director of Living Fuels said: “We are proud to be able to provide the most environmentally friendly way to deal with used cooking oil to the people of Walsall – diverting what can be a difficult waste into a valuable resource. We would like to thank residents for their recycling effort and look forward to a continuing partnership with Walsall Council and May Gurney in the future.”
Vicky Spink of May Gurney continued: “Waste cooking oil recycling complements our household recycling collections and offers residents more choice in the types of material that can be recycled locally, helping to reduce oils sent to landfill sites or being poured down drains.”
The tanks, which are located at the Merchants Way and Fryers Road HWRCs, can hold 1,250 litres of oil, which can provide enough clean, green electricity to power the average UK home for a year. Just one litre of used cooking oil can provide energy for 240 cups of tea.