Either the publicity was bad or we were oblivious, but this weekend was a "Used Cooking Oil Drop-Off" event in San Francisco. Missed it, but learned about a cool program. (Maybe next time.) Turns out that putting used cooking oil down the drain is worse than we thought (check out the pic). No matter how much hot water you send after it it'll harden eventually. San Francisco spends $3.5M every year to clean out clogged sewers.
SF GreaseCycle is a program sponsored by the SFPUC to "create a waste vegetable oil (WVO) recovery program that diverts Fats, Oils & Grease (FOG) out of the trash, away from the sewer and eventually...into fuel." Sounds cool - we've been wondering how to get rid of all that fried-chicken oil.
Here's how it works: residents can put waste oil in the trash or green bin, or save it in jars for drop-off events. Restaurants can arrange for FREE pickup of waste oil. The oil is then filtered and sold to a biofuel plant. The City saves money on sewer cleaning and gains money from the sale. Businesses save money due to plumbing repairs and waste disposal (and avoid being shutdown by the Health Department). Everyone wins when we decrease our reliance on fossil fuels.
Here's a list of Noe Valley restaurants that participate: AmberJack Sushi, Basso's, Casa Mexicana, Noe Valley Deli & Cafe, and Regent Thai. We think there are a few more fryer-intensive places that should be on the list: Firefly, Fresca, Eric's, Alice's, Tung Sing, Mi Lindo Yucatan, Bell Market's deli, and many more we can't think of offhand. Let them know about GreaseCycle when you visit them next.
[NVSF: Tung Sing: Shut Down by Health Department]