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Record recycling effort puts charity up in the air


It may not seem like the most obvious way of raising money for charity, but Wiltshire residents have raised a huge £1,300 for local charity Wiltshire Air Ambulance – all by recycling their used cooking oil.

The oil recycling campaign, which ran from January to March, saw residents recycle a staggering 5,200 litres of used cooking oil – a 107 per cent increase on the same period last year. All the oil collected will be recovered into renewable electricity for the National Grid and used to power UK homes and businesses.

The appeal was championed by eco-firm Living Fuels and local waste management company Hills Waste Solutions in a bid to encourage residents to recycle their used cooking oil instead of pouring it down the drain. Every year an average of £15 million is spent on dealing with blockages caused by oil sticking to pipework and clogging drains.

Cliff Carter, Recycling Manager for Hills said: ‘The response to this campaign has been incredible with the amount of used cooking oil brought to us for recycling more than doubling over the past 3 months.’

Caroline Corrigan, Head of Fundraising for Wiltshire Air Ambulance continued: ‘We were really pleased to be the nominated charity for this brilliant idea to recycle and raise funds. I had no idea the impact of disposing oil incorrectly and hope this campaign helps to limit damage to our drains in the future. We would like to thank all those who got behind this appeal and recycled their used cooking oil. Their combined efforts will help keep us in the air saving lives.’

The Wiltshire Air Ambulance, which was established in 1990, is the only one in the UK that can fly at night and can currently reach patients across the county in around 11 minutes. It costs over £700,000 each year to keep the helicopter flying, a figure which is set to rise to £2.4 million by the end of 2014.

The used cooking oil disposal tanks, placed at each of Wiltshire’s 11 household recycling centres, enable residents to dispose of their oil in a safe and environmentally conscious manner. When full, the oil is collected and taken to Living Fuels’ state-of- the-art recovery facility, where it is naturally recovered into renewable electricity for the National Grid. Just one litre of used cooking oil provides enough clean electricity to produce 240 cups of tea and one full tank can power the average home for one year.

Rob Murphy, Operations Director of Living Fuels said of the positive response to the scheme: “We are absolutely delighted with the effort residents have made in recycling their used cooking oil. Not only are they supporting an absolutely fantastic charity, they are helping to reduce the UK’s reliance on fossil derived fuels and therefore lowering the country’s carbon footprint.”

To find your nearest oil collection point, please visit or

Photo shows: (l – r) Ross Culligan; paramedic, Cliff Carter; Recycling Manager of Hills Waste Solutions, Rob Murphy; Operations Director of Living Fuels, Richard Millar; paramedic