On recycling cooking oil

I’m always intrigued by stories like this.

NRG Stadium is no stranger to fried food — like the booths upon booths of deep-fried desserts that line NRG Park during the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, or the churros and corn dogs likely to be found as the men’s college basketball Final Four hits Houston this weekend.

But when the rodeo and March Madness are over, where does all that oil go?

The answer: biodiesel, makeup, pet food and sometimes, right back into the fryer.

For the past eight years, NRG Stadium has partnered with a Houston franchise of Filta, a cooking oil cleaning and recycling company that started in the U.K. Last year, Filta recycled 3,370 gallons of oil from NRG Stadium’s concessions alone.

Three Filta franchises cover the Houston area, but the one owned by Mike Powers is the largest — it covers all of the stadiums, three University of Houston campuses, more than 50 hospitals and even more hotels, restaurants and grocery stores.

The workers at Filta use a machine to suck out the cooking oil from a fryer, put it through three levels of filtration and then deep clean the fryer itself before replacing the filtered oil. Powers, who’s owned the franchise for nearly 12 years, likens it to “dialysis for your cooking oil.”

If the oil still isn’t clean enough to use after filtration, Filta removes it and hands it off to third-party companies that recycle it.

What happens to the oil when the next recycler gets it? The story doesn’t say. What would have happened to this oil if it hadn’t been recycled? The nearest landfill, I assume. I don’t have a point to make here, I just find this stuff interesting. Hope you do, too.

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One Response to On recycling cooking oil

  1. Paul Kubosh says:

    Growing up we had a container of oil that Mom used every time to fry food. The reused oil was the best. The fried food no matter what it was always tasted better. Now of course I have a real weight problem but man that food sure tasted good. Also my friends Mom’s all did the same thing.

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