Tired of Paying High Disposal and Processing Fees for Your Restaurant's Grease? What Are Your Options?

If you own a restaurant that utilizes oil frying as a preparation method, you may find yourself spending what seems like an inordinate amount of time and mental energy on the process of removing and disposing of your waste oil. Many restaurants contract with a grease-removal company and pay a regular fee for removal while others handle the process themselves by placing the oil into an impermeable container and hauling it to a disposal site. Not only can these disposal methods be pricey, but they often don't take advantage of the untapped energy within this waste oil, from the creation of biodiesel that can be used to power vehicles and portable generators to recycled methane gas that can be used to generate electricity. Read on to learn more about some of your eco-friendly (and wallet-friendly) alternatives to traditional grease-disposal methods.

Advertise to eco-minded consumers

More and more consumers with an eye on saving money and limiting carbon emissions have begun the process of converting their own diesel vehicle to run on a biodiesel mix. Since purchasing biodiesel may not always be a money-saving proposition compared to purchasing regular diesel fuel, thriftier environmentalists have begun collecting waste oil from restaurants and other businesses and refining this oil at home to create inexpensive biodiesel. This process is relatively simple, utilizing a solvent to separate the waste oil into its two byproducts—biodiesel and glycerin. After you drain off the glycerin and filter the biodiesel through a strainer to remove any debris, this liquid should be ready to power a diesel vehicle or freestanding generator.

Advertising your waste oil to all consumers who brew their own biodiesel (or entering into a quieter arrangement with one or two customers who promise to haul away your waste oil on a regular basis) can be a win-win situation. Not only will you be able to remove and replenish your restaurant's frying grease without paying disposal and processing fees, but you'll be providing "free" biodiesel to area residents and improving the environment. For an even greater marketing kick, you may want to ask your consumers whether they would be willing to display your company's name and logo on a bumper sticker that tells passersby that their vehicle is being powered by your waste grease. In an era where more and more attention is paid to preserving the environment, emphasizing your restaurant's "green" roots in the public sphere can often be a boon for business.

Look into methane recycling

A number of grease-recycling companies collect and process restaurant waste oil, converting it to methane gas that can be used to generate electricity. These companies generally sell their methane gas to power plants, although large recycling companies can sometimes have power-generating plants on site. Because the grease collected is able to be reused and resold, rather than simply processed and dumped, contracting with a grease-recycling company is generally much less expensive than enlisting a disposal company.

When you recycle your waste oil with a methane-producing facility, the amount of work you'll need to perform after signing the initial service contract should be minimal. The recycling company will come to your business on a regular predetermined schedule, empty your grease traps into their recycling truck, and leave. The company will either sending you a bill later or require payment up front. Other than cleaning the fryers after they have been drained of oil or having your employees do so, your only obligation as the restaurant owner will be having an employee available to unlock the doors and allow the recycling company access to your waste oil. 

With these tips, you can get rid of your waste more responsibly.