ABU DHABI // Leftover cooking oil, grease and fat collected from kitchens in homes and restaurants across the capital could soon be used to make biodiesel under a new recycling scheme.
Tadweer, the Centre of Waste Management in Abu Dhabi, will provide permits to companies allowing them to produce the environmentally friendly alternative to regular diesel for use in buses and lorries.
Rafael Sanjurjo Lopez, GCC regional general manager at Blue, a waste management company that runs an oil recycling plant in Dubai, said they were waiting for the centre to grant permission to “start collecting waste food and frying oil from across Abu Dhabi’s kitchens, as we do in Dubai”.
Tadweer did not give a time frame for when oil recycling would begin in Abu Dhabi.
Blue recycles more than 227,000 litres of waste oil a day, collected from more than 7,000 kitchens. It aims to double the amount of oil collected by the end of the year.
As well as fuel, recycled oil can be used to make soap, Mr Lopez said. “Companies based in Dubai buy recycled oil from us and use it in India and Pakistan for making soap for washing clothes,” he said.
Producing biodiesel not only creates an environmentally friendly fuel, it also stops bins and drains being clogged up by litres of waste oil and grease poured away each day.
One litre of oil contaminates up to 1,000 litres of water, according to estimates by environment experts. The oil hardens into thick layers, choking drain pipes and sewers. This restricts water flow, causes foul backup and requires strong chemicals to unclog pipes.
Despite hefty fines handed out to anyone caught disposing of leftover oil this way, municipalities have to spend millions of dirhams each year clearing drains and sewers.
There are several biofuel production plants operating in Dubai. Companies such as McDonald’s send about 300,000 litres a month to be refined into various forms of biodiesel.
But this is just a fraction of the cooking oil used in the emirate as most companies sell their used oil abroad to be refined, reuse it for cooking, or simply dump it.