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|June 17, 2010
|Greasing the wheels of the fuel industry
A group of formerly homeless and incarcerated men are greasing the wheels of the fuel industry -quite literally.
They've been hired to collect thousands of gallons of used cooking oil from New York City restaurants that will be turned into biodiesel by Long Island-based METRO Biofuels, LLC.
It's the first large-scale effort to turn New York City's waste restaurant cooking oil into locally-processed biodiesel and comes on the heels of new City Council legislation which would require all New York City heating oil to be blended with biodiesel by 2011.
METRO Biofuels partnered with the Doe Fund's RWA Resource Recovery initiative to collect the oil and transport it to its state-of-the-art biodiesel processing facility, slated to open in Brooklyn later this year.
"Recycled restaurant cooking oil is New York City's greatest renewable energy resource," said Gene V. Pullo, presidenl of Brooklyn-based METRO Biofuels.
"By working with RWA Resource Recovery, a leader in quality waste oil collection, and its outstanding workforce, we will be able to efficiently harness this resource and ensure the highest quality product for small and large residential and commercial heating oil users in New York City."
The unique METRO/Doe Fund partnership will harness New York City's local renewable energy resource - waste restaurant cooking oil - into a cleaner, greener alternative to heating oil and diesel fuel that improves air quality, lowers carbon emissions and reduces dependence on fossil fuels.
In all, it is estimated that up to 15 million gallons of waste cooking oil annually is available for collection from food service establishments across New York City.
Under the partnership, RWA Resource Recovery will collect waste cooking oil from establishments throughout New York City, hauling it away in specially outfitted trucks and consolidating it in holding tanks.
METRO Biofuels will pick up the waste oil and take it to its Greenpoint facility for processing.
RWA Resource Recovery currently employs a workforce of 18 formerly homeless or formerly incarcerated "men in green," who collect more than one million gallons of waste cooking oil annually from over 1200 food service establishments citywide, including Union Square Café, Daniel, and the Russian Tea Room.
"RWA Resource Recovery is not only making New York City cleaner and greener, but is also providing jobs and training to formerly homeless individuals who are ready to change their lives and want a hand up rather than a hand out," said George McDonald, founder & president of The Doe Fund.
"The men of Ready, Willing & Able have proven that used cooking oil isn't garbage, but is in fact an urban resource. With the City Council's leadership, the METRO processing plant will allow us to have an even greater impact in New York City."
Council Member James F. Gennaro, chair of the Environmental Protection Committee who sponsored the recent bill, said, "METRO and the Doe Fund are leading the way towards a cleaner, greener, more energy-independent future for New York City by recycling used cooking oil and processing it into biodiesel
"The partnership of these two extraordinary organizations will go a long way to fulfilling the goals of legislation that I am moving through the New York City Council, requiring all heating oil to be blended with biodiesel starting in 2011.
"This is a win-win across the board for everyone: restaurants get their used cooking oil picked up for free; our sewers get spared from costly clogs; we create green jobs and support green business in New York City; our carbon footprint is reduced...
"And New Yorkers get to breathe a little easier knowing their buildings and homes are using cleaner and more renewable bioheating oil."
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