Thousands of Somerset families have won praise for transforming their used cooking oil into green power for homes and businesses.
All 18 Somerset recycling sites started taking cooking oil one year ago so it could be used to generate renewable power. Around 6,000 litres of cooking oil – weighing close to six tonnes – have been poured into the recycling tanks over the past year. That has been enough cooking oil to make almost a million and a half cups of tea.
Eco-firm Living Fuels collects the oil, filters it and uses it to generate carbon neutral electricity for UK homes and businesses. Just one full collection tank provides enough electricity to power the average home for a year.
Living Fuels Operations Director Rob Murphy said: “We are delighted to see that the residents of Somerset have taken so well to recycling their used cooking oil. For each litre of oil poured into one of our recycling tanks, residents are creating enough energy to make 240 cups of tea. Residents are turning a difficult waste stream into a valuable, eco-friendly source of energy.”
As well as generating power, recycling cooking oil avoids the risk of it being pored down the drain, damaging watercourses and wildlife. And blocked drains from cooking oil costs UK taxpayers £15 million a year, or about 14p for every litre disposed in this way.
Somerset Waste Partnership managing director Steve Read said: “This is a great result, and the county’s chip fryers are to be praised for their recycling but we know there is still plenty of cooking oil being thrown away, either down the drain or to landfill in refuse bins. It would be great if residents can store up used oil and take it to one of our easy to use containers when visiting a recycling site.”