Did you know over the last 50 years, entire world’s wildlife population has reduced by 60 percent? And when we evaluate earth’s increasing pollution and reduction in greenery -the reports are equally disappointing. Over the last 50 years we have been foolishly irresponsible towards our planet. As a result we have put it at a risk of extinction. A planet so full and plenty, just by the irresponsible behaviour of a single species, is now facing the threat of oblivion. Thankfully, we still have time. Earth can still revive, but only if we start living a sustainable and environment friendly lifestyle.

How used cooking oil fits in this puzzle.

The oils we use for cooking, are made for one time use. However, majority of times, we end up with excess oil after the cooking process. This excess oil has been used once, and during the process, it has burned and has accumulated water and food particles. Thus you cannot reuse this oil ( you can, but it is not advisable -it ruins the taste and your health.) So what do you do with this oil? Traditionally, we would discard and dispose this oil. But, in light of present environmental crisis -we need to consider an alternative.

The used cooking oil we dispose cause tragic damage to our drainage system. An ineffective drainage leads to further degradation of our environment. The used cooking oils accumulate and coat the sewage system. These coatings can emit Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S,) a toxic and highly flammable gas. Now that we have established the damage used cooking oils are causing, let’s explore the opportunities they can provide to build a sustainable society.

The main method of managing used cooking oil, is to collect it, process it and use it for the production of biodiesel. And as we know biodiesel is the only eco-friendly alternative to petroleum diesel. Biodiesel alone holds the potential to solve half the environmental challenges we face today. Starting from global warming, to air pollution to resource depletion -are all related with the consumption of petroleum. Hence, biodiesels from used cooking oils can provide a significant way out.

Now biodiesel can be produced (and generally is) from many other sources. These sources include soybean oil, corn oil, canola oil, palm oil, rapeseed oil and animal fat. Taking the first time use of these oils for producing biodiesel is clearly a wastage of resources, when the same can be produced from used cooking oils. Further the use of animal fat is wrong on many different levels.
So let us join together to collect our used cooking oils and use it to built a sustainable future. Apart from this primary recycling option, used cooking oil can also be used as an intermediate for distilling fatty acids and glycerol and as technical grease.

Looking ahead

Long have we took our actions causally. Long have we reclined back into complacency. But, if we want our planet to survive, if we don’t want our offspring to be trapped in a hostile earth -then we must start accounting for every little lifestyle decision we take. We must not think that our actions are small and insignificant in larger context, because it is not! Every action of ours will add up: no matter how small.