City Wants Your Cooking Oil

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) – The city of Columbia has “cooked” up a new way to recycle your cooking oil.  A new initiative called “Southern Fried Fuels” was announced Monday.

“It smells like fried chicken riding down the road,” says Joe Renwick, co-owner of Midlands Biofuels. He’s describing what will soon be the smell of a city of Columbia garbage truck. Columbia city councilman Daniel Rickenmann says, “Right now we have a real struggle with fats, oils, and greases, getting into the water treatment system.” Rickenmann says cleaning up the clogged storm drains is costing the city $1.5 million a year.

Now, there’s a solution. Instead of those dollars and cooking oil going down the drain, it can be recycled. Biodiesel fuel is being made from recycled cooking oil at a plant in Winnsboro called Midlands Biofuels.

The city is asking residents to donate their leftover oil to help fuel one of the city’s ten garbage trucks it uses everyday. Officials say there is no extra cost to the city, and it may actually be the environmental equivalent to having a new truck. Officials say using biodiesel in an old model garbage truck may produce less emissions than a brand new truck that uses diesel.

Renwick says, “This is something that’s very important for our country, our state, to look for alternative fuel to power our vehicles.” Just watch out if a little leftover “southern fried fuel” gets on you. Renwick says, “If you get it on your clothes, pants, a dog may come up to you and try to lick you.”

You can drop off your cooking oil to be recycled at the city of Columbia Public Works Division at 2910 Colonial Drive. Collections will be taken every weekday except Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. You are asked to collect the oil in a clean, non-breakable, leak-proof container.