I recently sent some questions via email to Casey Brooks (Marketing/Media Relations) over at Arizona Green Dining to learn more about what they do. Arizona Green Dining collects waste vegetable oil from restaurants here in Arizona and their partners Az Biodiesel recycle it into biodiesel. Here’s what he had to say:
Q) What criteria do you use to classify a restaurant as “green”?
The most significant and quickest impact a restaurant can make to the local environment is to have their used fryer oil be recycled into clean burning biodiesel. This is a abundant local renewable resource that can make a significant impact on the air we breath in Arizona. And for the restaurant it is the easiest transition to make the biggest impact on the environment.
Q) How do you use the waste oil you receive?
Our partners Az Biodiesel recycle the waste oil into clean burning low emissions biodiesel fuel to only be sold here in Arizona. For every gallon of biodiesel that Az Biodiesel makes it will take away 16 pounds of co2 emissions out of the skies in Arizona.
Q) What would happen to the waste oil otherwise?
Some of the waste oil that is too polluted to be recycled into biodiesel fuel will be used for feed stock here in Az. But unfortunately most of the used oil is being shipped out of state or even out of the country. Used waste oil is a commodity and some oil collection companies are selling it to other biodiesel manufacturers in other states. Our partners at AZ Biodiesel have committed to use the oil for biodiesel fuel to be only sold here in Arizona. Its a resource that should be utilized here in Arizona and not shipped elsewhere.
Q) What is the benefit to the restaurants, consumers, local economy, environment, and what is the benefit to az green dining?
The benefit to the restaurant is that they can take advantage of the advertising campaign that Az Green Restaurant org. has launched to increase business into these participating locations. People these days tend to favor businesses’ that are doing their part in helping the environment, so the restaurants can also benefit by promoting themselves as a environmentally friendly establishment (that should also increase their business.) The consumers benefit knowing they are actually helping out the local environment by dining at these establishments. And the consumers also benefit from the cleaner air. To the local economy: Creating jobs in biodiesel processing, fuel distribution, equipment maintenance, and many other collateral business’ associated with any industry and this is just the beginning of a new local industry. Glycerin by product is reducing costs at local water treatment plants.
AZ Biodiesel maintains the cleanliness of the restaurants oil collection area and environmentally clean accidental spills and try to use as many “recycled” collection systems (used, high quality, easy pour, fluid visible, barrels) as possible.
Q) Is the biodiesel that is produced from this oil going to be available to the general public?
From the commercial supply our target market is the school bus system first and foremost. But, we definitely want to make available to all the individuals that want to be environmentally friendly. Its the community effort that will determine the size of the success and our potential to use as much local resources as possible. Its all about the public and I think people would agree on the commercial side that school bus’ first makes sense.
Q) Will any of the biodiesel be shipped out of state?
Q) What is done with the byproducts of biodiesel production?
Currently, the city of mesa uses it (for free) in their water treatment plant to increase the “energy” produced. Glycerin is like a food for the microbes they grow to consume the solid waste. This will save mesa a lot of money, we expect, and we feel is the true “community benefit” that should come from it. We aren’t interested in making every nickel by selling glycerin when the community should benefit as this is really a community effort.
Q) Anything you would like to add?
Please help clean the skies in Arizona but supporting local restaurants that donate their used fryer oil to be recycled into clean burning biodiesel by visiting www.azgreendining.com
WVO Storage Tanks at Az Biodiesel – Biodiesel Mixing tanks at Az Biodiesel
Az Biodiesel should be opening soon, they have already passed ASTM specifications on their biodiesel and are currently waiting for an EPA certificate.
What else can restaurants do to be more stustainable?
- Serve dine-in customers with reusable, washable plates, cutlery, utensils, and glasses.
- Serve take-out customers with biodegradable packaging, cutlery, and utensils. Eco-Products
- Watch their energy usage. I can think of many places where it’s so cold you need a jacket to dine-in.
- Watch their water usage. Don’t unnecessarily waste water.