BlackGold Biofuels of Charlotte, N.C., has opened a recycling facility specifically for restaurant kitchens' wastewater. According to the company, it's common to recycle deep fryer oil, however recycling oils from kitchen wastewater has proven more elusive.

BlackGold Biofuels receives grease trap waste from wastewater haulers that is generated in commercial and institutional kitchens during dishwashing and food preparation. BlackGold Biofuels removes food particles and then extracts and purifies the recovered plant- and animal-based oils. The recovered oil is used for biofuels, offsetting fossil fuels while increasing energy independence.

The EPA names blockages from grease as a top culprit in sewer overflows nationwide. Currently, grease trap waste is often landfilled or spread on fields. The material can be sent to anaerobic digestion to produce biogas for energy use, but 70 percent of the grease's energy is lost and few facilities have infrastructure to convert it into energy.

By cleaning restaurants' wastewater, BlackGold Biofuels aims to reduce this burden.

"Proper grease trap maintenance is critical to the efficient functioning of the wastewater treatment system," said Jackie Jarrell, Charlotte Mecklenburg Utilities' superintendent of the Environmental Management Division. "Creating high-use beneficial reuses helps divert this waste out of our sewers and into compliant pathways, creating a financial and environmental win for the region."

The facility developer, BlackGold Biofuels, is based in Philadelphia and is building recycling facilities throughout the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. Additional facilities are under development in Winston-Salem and Raleigh, N.C.

"We are proud to provide local businesses with the lowest cost, most reliable and environmentally friendly solution for recycling this waste," said Emily Landsburg, CEO of BlackGold Biofuels.

Read more about sustainability efforts.

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