Olympia, Washington Used Cooking Oil Disposal & Recycling

Olympia, Washington, is a city about 100 miles north of Portland, Oregon, and 45 miles southwest of Seattle. Olympia residents received bad news when the Thurston County Waste and Recovery Center suspended the used cooking oil collection program. It happened because of the vendor’s new traceability guidelines, which made collection impossible to maintain. 

If you’re a resident and plan to throw out your used cooking oil, you need to solidify it with stearic acid or a commercial solidifier like FryAway. Restaurants and professionals in the food service industry or with commercial kitchens can arrange used cooking oil collection as part of their routine grease trap cleaning.

The Importance of Used Cooking Oil Recycling

Why is it so important? Used cooking oil is not to be poured down a sink or storm drain. Doing so creates clogs that can flood sewer systems. If the oils make it to a river, pond, etc, it can impact waterfowl and aquatic life. You must recycle it properly.

Earlier in 2024, the City of London found that a takeaway kitchen was dumping its used cooking oil into the Grand Union Canal. Thousands of liters of oil were dumped, resulting in an oil slick that spanned six miles. 

Workers were tasked with containing the oil and getting it out of the waterways as quickly as possible to prevent too much harm to plants, animals, and fish. Even then, wildlife experts were on hand to help any wildlife that was harmed. It was costly and unnecessary. All you have to do is recycle your used cooking oil.

Plus, it has the power to provide clean energy that can power planes, trucks, cars, and many other diesel-powered engines. Imagine the benefits to the environment if we all worked to turn the cooking oil we fry with into fuel that reduces the dependency on petroleum-based diesel that’s harming the world we live in.

While biofuel is part of the benefit that comes from cooking oil recycling, there’s another aspect to consider. The items grown to create cooking oil, such as corn, rapeseed, and soy can be composted back into the soil they grew in. This helps keep farmland healthy by providing continual compost. Plus, it creates jobs and provides the income farmers need to survive.

How Biofuel Is Made

How does a facility turn the dirty used cooking oil you’re getting rid of into biofuel? It’s a lengthy process. 

It starts when a company like Northwest Biofuel picks up used cooking oil from kitchens around Olympia, Washington. That oil is pumped from holding tanks and containers into trucks and transported to a processing facility. There it’s carefully filtered to remove food particles like batter scraps, meat fragments, and vegetable pieces. 

Once the oil is filtered, it has to have any water removed. This happens by heating it. From there, a process known as transesterification takes place. A short-chain alcohol, usually methanol, and catalyst like sodium hydroxide are needed to start breaking down the complex triglycerides from the oil. This process leads to biodiesel.

While there is biodiesel, glycerin is a byproduct of the process. That glycerin can be packaged and sent to other plants to turn into feedstock and items like makeup, shaving cream, hand creams, and other cosmetics.

On its own, the biodiesel isn’t very worthwhile. It’s going to thicken in cooler temperatures and gum up engines. For this reason, biodiesel is mixed with regular diesel to ensure it remains fluid in cold temperatures. Scientists continue to work on better ways of coming up with biodiesel that cannot turn syrupy in the winter.

Biofuel production is key to a better world. Less emissions is one key to slowing global warming. When people work together to provide the resources and companies continuously improve recycling processes and biofuel development, the world is that little bit better for future generations. It all started with something as simple as recycling used cooking oil instead of throwing it out.

Responsible Cooking Oil Disposal for All Residents and Business Owners

Commercial kitchens and restaurants need to have grease interceptors installed between sink drains and the sewer pipes. City code requires these traps to be cleaned and inspected regularly, and the city of Olympia may ask to see them without warning. Make sure you’re keeping up with routine care and maintenance of your grease trap. Don’t wait until it’s too late and you face fines.

For now, residents may not have a lot of choice but to throw out their used cooking oil, but restaurants and commercial kitchens shouldn’t. Before a resident solidifies it and tosses it out, it’s worth putting an ad on something like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist and offering it for free. Some people will collect it and create their own biodiesel for their personal cars. It never hurts to ask.

If you’re a business, Northwest Biofuel can pick it up at your restaurant or commercial kitchen. We’ll take it to a processing plant to be converted into biofuel. Biofuel production also creates glycerin, which can be used in cosmetics and other products.

How Northwest Biofuel Helps Restaurants

Northwest Biofuel is a grease trap expert offering grease trap installations, inspections, and cleanings in Oregon and Washington. Once an inspection is complete, you receive a FOG report that you can provide to the city inspector if requested. You’re in compliance and never have to worry.

Grease trap cleanings do cost some money, but that’s where used cooking oil recycling helps out. When you sign up for scheduled used cooking oil collection, you receive a discount on your grease trap cleanings. You also get a container that has a secure lid and ensures you never have used cooking oil containers to tip over and spill into the parking lot or alley behind your kitchen.

Get a discount on your grease trap cleanings and inspections when you also have Northwest Biofuel pick up your used cooking oil. Your restaurant needs to have grease traps professionally maintained due to area regulations, so why not save money keeping up with requirements? Learn more about our convenient used cooking oil recycling by calling or emailing Northwest Biofuel today. We offer a number of convenient options like 24/7 emergency service and off-schedule pick up of your used cooking oil if your tank fills up quicker than expected.