Restaurants get paid for their used cooking oil if they produce used cooking oil which meets minimum quality standards and their collector pays a rebate for that oil. But, if the used cooking oil doesn’t meet those quality standards then the collector won’t pay for it. Why? If the used cooking oil has too many impurities, or too much water or is contaminated by difficult to extract pollutants then the UCO recycler cannot recycle the oil.
Not recycling the oil means he cannot resell it to make it into biodiesel or renewable diesel. If he can’t recycle it then he has to pay to properly dispose of the contaminated oil. So the recycler has paid to collect the oil, can’t resell the oil and now has to pay to properly dispose of it. This is a very expensive proposition for a used cooking oil recycler. It is not surprising that they won’t pay for contaminated oil
What contaminates used cooking oil?
- Grease Trap Contaminants
Some restaurant employees will put the contents of a grease trap into the used oil recycling bin. Grease traps contain foodstuffs, sauces and water. Never empty a grease trap into the cooking oil recycling bin. The solid foodstuffs should be emptied into the garbage and the liquids pumped when the grease trap is cleaned.
- Soaps and Detergents
Cleaning your fryers regularly is a good idea. Never empty the soap and detergent water into your cooking oil bin. Empty soap and detergent down the drain. Soaps contaminate used cooking oil.
- Motor Oil
Motor oil is expensive and difficult to get rid of. Less than scrupulous people have been known to dump motor oil into the used cooking oil bin. This destroys the value of the used cooking oil. Always keep a lock on your UCO bin. It not only protects oil from thieves from those who would dump things like motor oil into the bin.
- Burned Oil
When cooking is used beyond its useful life it breaks down and traps repeatedly burned food particles in the fryer. When that fryer is emptied it contains those burned particles which damage cooking oil, reducing or destroying its value. Filter your cooking oil regularly to remove burned remnants. Test your cooking oil to ensure you are not overusing it, destroying the taste of your food and the quality of the oil.
- Construction materials
Numerous cases have arisen where nearby construction or road paving materials have ended up in unlocked cooking oil bins. These materials also destroy the value of used cooking oil and sometimes damage the equipment of the UCO collector.
Getting top dollar for your used cooking oil
For a restaurant to get top dollar for its used cooking oil it has to produce oil that meets minimum quality standards. That means having a set of standard operating procedures for employees to adhere to (no grease trap dumping, don’t overuse the oil) and ensuring that oil that is placed in the collection bin is safely locked away from illicit dumping by others.
Running a restaurant is a tough business and restaurants need all of the revenues they can get. Used cooking oil is an easy, consistent source of revenue if handled properly.