DAR PRO Solutions offers used cooking oil collection (UCO) and grease trap services to restaurants, supermarkets and others in the hospitality industry. These FAQs focus on used cooking oil in a general sense - how is used cooking oil utilized, how to dispose of used cooking oil safely, what to do with your home cooking oil, and recycling your Thanksgiving turkey grease.
How do I select a used cooking oil service provider?
In today's culture of social responsibility, it pays to make sure the company picking up your oil is a worthy partner with the resources to do its job well, to be there for the long-term, to invest in your success, and use your cooking oil in a sustainable manner. A few questions to ask a potential partner are:
- How will you make life easier for my store and my employees?
- You claim my oil will be biofuel, but how do I know that for sure?
- What kind of investments has your company made in biofuel production, or other ways of using my grease?
- How long have you been in business?
- Do you own or lease your fleet, and do your own employees make service calls?
- What hours are customer service reps available, in case of after-hour questions?
- Are you familiar with our city's latest grease trap regulations?
For a more complete look at how to choose a reliable partner, and how DAR PRO Solutions answers these questions, read our whitepaper.
How much used cooking oil is generated in a year?
According to the National Renderers Association, approximately 4.4 billion pounds of used cooking oil is collected annually from restaurants, grocers, hotels and casinos, and other foodservice providers in the US and Canada.
What happens to my used cooking oil after it’s picked up from my store?
After our service tech has removed the used cooking oil from your store, we take it to one of our processing facilities located coast-to-coast. There it is put through strainers to remove contaminants (grill bits and debris), heated to remove water and kill off any pathogens, and marketed as a commodity whose value is tracked and published daily. Most of the processed cooking oil our company collects in the U.S. is used to produce biofuel.
What can you do with used cooking oil?
Almost all the used cooking oil our company collects from restaurants, supermarkets and other foodservice establishments is used to produce biofuel. The demand for sustainable fuel is high, and used cooking oil is an inexpensive, sustainable feedstock. The used cooking oil is dewatered and cleaned at our processing facilities and produced into biodiesel (Darling owns two biodiesel plants in Montreal and Kentucky) or into renewable diesel (we co-own a renewable diesel refinery with Valero Energy in Louisiana). A co-product of the biodiesel production is glycerin, which can be used in numerous applications including hand sanitizer, cleansers, lotions, solvents, and much more; co-products of renewable diesel production are renewable propane, renewable butane, and naphtha, which is used in solvents, paint thinners, varnish, plastics and more.
Processed used cooking oil can also be used as a nutritional supplement for animal feed.
Improve your curb appeal (bad smells don't encourage a customer's appetite)
Save your kitchen drains and plumber bill
Avoid fines and down time if your grease trap should overflow from clogged grease in the pipes
Realize the potential of rebates for your used cooking oil
Know you are helping the planet by helping to recycle otherwise unusable material into something of value
Support your company's sustainability goals
Our own service technicians, employed by our company, will arrive in DAR PRO Solutions branded trucks with our logo on their uniforms. If you ever see someone pumping your grease bin and they are not readily identifiable as DAR PRO Solutions (or Darling Ingredients, our parent company), they are likely stealing your grease. We never use subcontractors to collect our customers’ used cooking oil.
Part of our excellence in providing satisfied customer service is effectively determining a pickup schedule that is tied to a store’s volume, which is most efficient for both us and our customers. If your used cooking oil volume has changed (increase or decrease) since you signed on as a customer, call our Customer Engagement Center, 855-DAR-PRO1 (855-327-7761).
Used cooking oil, once properly processed, is used in a number of consumer products. This used cooking oil can be processed and repurposed into biofuel, animal feed ingredients, or used in several common household or commercial products, such as paints, solvents, cleansers, lotions, plastics, tires, and much more. As the demand for yellow grease (processed UCO) grows, so does its inherent value.
Yellow grease (processed used cooking oil) is a commodity tracked by sources like The Jacobson, Urner Barry, Informa, and others, which monitor the market values of various agricultural commodities such as corn, soybeans, and more. Yellow grease value is driven by demand, which is determined largely by biofuel and animal feed demand. Yellow grease is an economical substitute for corn in animal feed and used as an alternate feedstock to virgin oils for biofuel production.
We use formulaic pricing to determine rebates to our customers, based not only on market value and volume, but also the quality of the oil.
• Has it been kept free of contamination (trash, rainwater, food debris)?
• Is it secure from theft? (We can’t rebate for what we don’t pick up.)
A switch to automated tanks has proven the best way for customers to protect the value of their oil and maximize their rebate potential.
If you are still using the same amount of fresh oil and your cooking and oil storage methods have not changed, but you are seeing smaller (or no) rebate checks, it could be one of two things. Yellow grease markets may have dropped, and we have had to adjust our rebates accordingly, or, someone is likely stealing your grease. We pay rebates based on the amount of oil we pick up; if it has been stolen, there is less (or none) for us to pump. To determine if it is theft, let our Customer Engagement Center (855-DAR-PRO1) know of your suspicion, and if possible, install an outside security camera on your grease corral to monitor illicit activity. If you do confirm theft, call your local police to report the crime, and let us know
Yes, they really do. Because of the increase in demand for biofuel, due in large part to government mandates, the value for the feedstock that is used to produce the biofuel has increased proportionately. Thieves have discovered a grease bin in the back of a restaurant parking lot is often an easy and open target. They then sell the used grease to a biofuel producer who doesn’t ask sourcing questions… and rob the restaurant of any rebate they may be entitled to. Because these are criminals engaged in a crime, such theft can also be a danger to both employees and customers. If theft is observed, call the local police first to report the crime, then call us. Getting a photo or license tag number would be helpful in prosecuting the theft, but only if it is safe to do so.
With our fully enclosed automated tanks, stores can protect their grease from theft. To pump the oil from the storage tank during a service pickup, DAR PRO Solutions uses a proprietary external valve that will connect only to DAR PRO service vehicles, preventing the illegal theft of a store’s used grease.
No. We have found that our customers can often find better prices on virgin oil by shopping suppliers, retaining the ability to buy at lower market prices versus being locked into a purchase contract. DAR PRO’s focus is on what we do best – we offer the industry’s best in used oil collection tanks, dependable service, a nationwide infrastructure and a skilled service team to ensure our customers are satisfied and we are consistently meeting their needs.
How do homeowners dispose of their kitchen grease?
NEVER pour used grease down your kitchen drain unless you like to personally support the local plumbers. If the used grease is strained and stored in a cool place, it can safely be reused a few times. Once the oil is spent, contact your city; many offer used cooking oil drop-off points, particularly during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. If no drop-off is available, put the used oil in a disposable container and discard in your trash.
How can you recycle used cooking oil at home?
We are limited on what we can do with our used grease at home. Virtually the only 'recycling' available to us is to save the used grease in a clean can, in a cool place, for later re-use when frying potatoes or meats. If stored properly, the grease can be re-used a few times before the nose-test says it's time to dispose of it. To discard, secure it in a closed container and place it in the trash. For larger amounts, like a fried Thanksgiving turkey, contact your local city or fire department; they often have grease days for residents to turn in their used grease for recycling. If you have a compost pile, you can add small amounts of grease at a time. Too much could be a problem. See our next answer below.
Can I put used cooking oil in my compost pile?
Avoid adding used cooking oil to your compost pile; small amounts may not be problematic, but too much can emit an unpleasant odor attracting rodents and animals and can encourage pathogens. Too much grease can also slow down or even halt the compost action.
Will you pick up my turkey grease?
We are not able to collect used cooking oils from homes. To adhere to sourcing and tracking requirements of the materials we use in the fats, oils, proteins and greases we produce, our company can only collect from contracted customers. Check with your city or local firefighters. During the holidays, there are often special drop-off spots for the grease that deep fried that yummy turkey on your Thanksgiving table.
Do you recycle motor oil?
No, we only recycled used cooking oils from businesses, industrial, institutional and commercial establishments. If you have motor oil to discard, contact your city or local automotive retailer and ask if they have drop off locations. Many cities offer periodic hazardous waste collection days; store your old motor oil safely and drop it off at those events. Motor oil contains chemicals that could be dangerous to groundwater, vegetation, or water supplies, so should never be poured onto the ground or down a drain.