Used Cooking Oil Collection in Icy Cold Weather

Moving used cooking oil storage from outdoor bins into automated tanks is our most effective and efficient solution (we even have heated models, to keep the grease from solidifying).  But not all our customers are ready for that switch, or don’t have the grease volume that renders it a smart choice.

Using outdoor bins doesn’t mean we’re unable to pick up a customer’s used cooking oil during freezing temps. We have the capabilities to provide service to our customers year-round. We’re a bit like the old postal motto – “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat” … you get the idea.

Our winter climate facilities utilize specialized trucks that are divided into two holding sections – one section to hold the used cooking oil, and the other section filled with warmed water. The truck’s motorized arm raises the bin full of solidified grease and places it in the warm water bath, softening the edges so the “grease cube” slides out of the bin into the holding tank, which is also warmed so the grease can be easily pumped out of the truck at our processing plant. The process is quick and efficient – collecting the full amount of used cooking oil in the bin and avoiding spills or accidents that might occur by trying to force a hose thru a top layer of frozen grease to ineffectively try to pump out liquid oil below the surface.

The Icy Challenge of Grease Trap Service

DAR PRO’s grease trap technicians are also used to working in winter conditions and face their own unique challenges. We schedule our service fleet much like any trucking company, with a focus on safe operations for both our drivers and our customers’ property.

In winter months, our biggest challenge is access.  Most grease trap lids are located in or near a store’s parking area; if that area hasn’t been cleared of snow or ice, it hinders our ability to access the trap.  Our drivers will always try to clear the lids so they can service the trap, but if they aren’t familiar with where the trap is located, the service will need to be rescheduled until the customer has cleared the snow. 

Unique to servicing grease traps in winter is GREASE FOG! The difference in temperature between the inground trap and the atmosphere creates a fog in the basin, preventing clear visibility of the contents.  DAR PRO technicians vacuum out the fog to clear visibility, pump the material until the temperature variation again forms fog, then repeat the vacuum and pump process until basin is clean.

Winter storms bring more problems than solidified grease bins and blocked grease traps.  Icy roads, service vehicles blocked in from road closures, restricted access to outdoor corrals, rescheduling customer pickups – situations like these will separate the long-surviving businesses from the “good-weather” players.

But there are ways we can work together to minimize service disruptions.

  • Keep your area clear of snow and ice.  Grease trap lids may be impossible to locate and outdoor bins can become “stuck” in ice (yes, our drivers come prepared to bust thru, but the extra work adds extra time to service calls)
  • Have reasonable expectations. If your food delivery couldn’t get to your store, or your cooks can’t get into work, or the city is in temporary shutdown mode, consider that our trucks may have trouble reaching you also. But our logistical preparations for bad weather reduces missed service appointments and minimizes any delay in rescheduling.
  • Notify us.  If you are aware that your grease trap or outdoor bin will be inaccessible on your scheduled service day, call us. Working together, we can limit disruptions and re-plan routes so that we can operate as efficiently as possible in challenging weather conditions.

Where a smaller service operator may face days out of commission, or in worst circumstances find themselves unable to sustain business thru a winter storm, our employees have historically demonstrated, time and again, that we are ready to roll as soon as city streets are open, ready to service our customers’ needs. 

DAR PRO Solutions is a thought leader in the industry for used cooking oil management and grease trap services. Our innovative equipment solutions, strong customer support, and service expertise will make handling grease a worry free part of your business.  Reach out to a DAR PRO representative today and find out how your ghost kitchen or restaurant can benefit from our partnership. Call us 24/7/365 at 855-DAR-PRO1 (855-327-7761).