Carter County to recycle cooking oil
Published 7:54 am Friday, November 21, 2014
When the subject of recycling comes up, most people immediately think of paper, plastic and glass, but the Carter County Recycling Center is asking that you also think of used cooking oil.
Carter County recently expanded its recycling program to include used cooking oil. The first collection containers were installed Thursday — one at the main landfill and one at the county’s recycling center on Cherokee Drive. The expansion is open just in time for Thanksgiving, when many people use cooking oil to deep fry their turkeys.
“We’re going to do the pilot with these two, and if it works, we will venture into Roan Mountain and our new Elk Mills site eventually,” landfill manager Benny Lyons said. “It is another step in our process to further our recycling program.”
Residents and local restaurants can bring their used cooking oil to either of these two locations for free, Lyons said. In turn, the county will sell the oil to RUCMO, a Kingsport-based company.
The program to recycle cooking oil could create a new revenue stream for the county’s landfill without requiring any investment from the county, Lyons said. RUCMO will provide the collections containers to the county at no charge, RUCMO owner Thomas Forbush said.
Once RUCMO buys the used cooking oil, Forbush said his company processes it and then sells it to a company for use in making bio-diesel fuel and animal feed.
“That is basically what you can make out of used cooking oil,” Forbush said.
Forbush founded RUCMO three years ago in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina, but three months ago, he moved his company to Tennessee.
“I came up here to visit a friend and really liked it,” Forbush said of Northeast Tennessee. “The people are just so nice, they still say hi to you. The scenery is so beautiful.”
Once he relocated his business, Forbush said he began looking into recycling operations in the area and was surprised to find so few places that collected used cooking oil. Forbush then contacted Carter County to see if they would be interested in a partnership. This way, Forbush said, he gets the materials he needs for his business but the county is able to benefit from the program as well.
Carter County Commissioner Danny Ward, who serves on the Landfill Committee, was on hand Thursday for the delivery of the collection containers.
“It makes for a good partnership,” Ward said of the arrangement between the recycling center and RUCMO.
The program also will have a positive impact on the environment, Ward said. Now the used cooking oil will be recycled instead of going into the sewer system or into local streams.
Local businesses and other groups that use large quantities of cooking oil and cannot haul it to one of the collection sites should contact the landfill at 543-6626. A collection container will be brought to their location and hauled back to the landfill once filled.