detroit oil and grease collection

Used Cooking Oil Recycling Detroit

Restaurant Oil Disposal

Detroit Grease offers the most reliable used cooking oil disposal service in the Detroit, Michigan Area.

  • There when you need us
  • Available 24/7 for emergency pickups
  • Clean and professional
serving Detroit metro and beyond

Who We Serve

Detroit Grease provides used cooking oil recycling services to restaurants, food processing facilities, hotels and casinos in Detroit, Flint, Ann Arbor, Lansing and the surrounding areas. Call us today to get started with the best in used cooking oil pickup services.

What is used cooking oil recycling?

Used cooking oil (UCO) recycling is the collection and recycling of the fats and grease used in cooking by restaurants, food processing companies and homes. It is often collected by professional recycling companies such as Detroit Grease, which collects used cooking oil in the Detroit, Flint, Lansing and Ann Arbor areas.

The bulk of kitchen oil comes from vegetable oils used in deep fat fryers but may also include animal fats from cooking meats when they are sauteed or roasted. Grease that contains both vegetable oils and animal fats is often referred to as yellow grease. In particular, rotisserie chicken, a very popular prepared food item, produces a lot of grease and is a component in most yellow grease. Most oil picked up from restaurants will contain both vegetable and animal grease.

UCO picked up from restaurants will contain trace amounts of food particles, carbon and water. These are contaminants which must be removed, before UCO can be recycled into other products such as biodiesel. UCO picked up from restaurants should not contain brown grease, which is food industry waste and is captured by grease traps. If your UCO does contain brown grease, your UCO recycling company may not be able to accept it.

Used cooking oil can be recycled into biodiesel fuels, cosmetics and animal feed.

Is UCO hazardous waste?

The EPA does not consider used cooking oil (UCO) to be hazardous waste and it therefore is not subject to the rules and regulations for hazardous waste. However, some individual states may consider UCO to be hazardous waste, so it is best to check.

Michigan does not consider UCO to be hazardous waste. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) regulates UCO in Michigan. Transporters of used cooking oil must be registered with EGLE.

What is the process of recycling used cooking oil?

Typically, restaurants place their used cooking oil (UCO) in a steel or hard plastic container with a sturdy lock. The restaurant contracts with a used cooking oil recycler like Detroit Grease to collect the oil. Detroit Grease arrives with a sucker truck to vacuum the oil from the grease bin or container into their truck.

From there, the grease will go to a facility where an initial rendering takes place to reduce impurities such as water, foodstuffs and other contaminants. The oil is then heated to achieve the characteristics that a biofuel manufacturer is looking for.

Biofuel processors look for free fatty acid(FFA) content less than 5% and prefer less than 3%. They prefer moisture content at less than 0.5% and TPM (total polar matter) less than 0.5%.

The biofuel producer will put the refined used cooking oil through several different processes depending on what type of fuel they are producing: biodiesel, renewable diesel or sustainable aviation fuel (SAF.)

What can be done with used cooking oil?

These are frequently asked questions that people ask about what they can do with used cooking oil.

Can I pour cooking oil down the drain?

Absolutely not. This is one of the worst things one can do with used cooking oil. UCO solidifies at lower temperatures (50-57 deg F). When UCO gets in your plumbing pipes and then solidifies due to temperature or mixing with other substances it clogs pipes and makes for expensive plumbing bills, damages and fines. Cities the world over are fighting fatbergs and putting in place programs to keep households and restaurants from pouring their cooking oil down the drain. Never pour cooking oil into a drain.

Can I pour cooking oil in the garden?

It’s strongly advised not to pour cooking oil directly into your garden. While seemingly harmless, there are several negative consequences:

Negative impacts on soil:

Negative impacts on plants:

Is cooking oil biodegradable?

Cooking oil is not biodegradable. Due to the structure of oil, oxygen and water cannot effectively breakdown oil.

Can I pour cooking oil down the toilet?

This is a definite No. As with drains, cooking oil solidifies and combines with other products such as personal hygiene products, clogging pipes and causing backups and expensive repairs.

Here is what to do should you make the mistake of pouring oil down the toilet or a sink.

Can you compost cooking oil?

While it is possible to compost very small amounts of vegetable oil (not animal fats), it is not advisable. Oil coating other compostable materials prevents oxygen and water from getting to them, slowing the process of decomposition. Oils can also attract rodents to your compost site bringing a host of problems.

In general, it is much better for the environment to recycle cooking oil into usable products such as biofuels, animal feed and cosmetics rather than try to compost it.

What is the quickest way to get rid of used cooking oil?

The quick ways of getting rid of used cooking oil are invariably bad and harmful. Pouring oil in the sink or toilet or garden can cause expensive problems. The best way is to recycle used cooking oil by taking it to an approved drop off location or for larger quantities calling a cooking oil recycling company such as Detroit Grease.

Check with your water department or local town hall for drop off locations. Here is one in Ann Arbor, MI.

Does used cooking oil have value?

Used cooking oil (UCO) has a lot of value. UCO can be made into biofuels such as biodiesel, renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel(SAF). The use and demand for these fuels are skyrocketing. Recently SAF has been adopted by several airlines and more are expected to pursue the use of SAF. 

Oceangoing vessels are jumping on the biodiesel bandwagon giving demand a greater boost. And with government subsidies for biofuels and “quotas” to meet, there are price supports to make biofuels more attractive.

Legislation and rulemaking bodies like the EPA are making RINs credits available to SAF producers and producers of fuels for oceangoing vessels.

The combination of demand and government credits means that sustainable fuels have support to keep their prices competitive with traditional fuels.

Why do prices for used cooking oil change?

With price supports in place, why then does the price of sustainable fuels and as a result, used cooking oil (UCO) change in value? Diesel fuels are commodities and these commodities are manufactured from other commodities such as UCO, soybean oil, palm oil etc.

These commodities change price in the marketplace minute to minute based on demand, government subsidies, legislation and the price of competing commodities like traditional diesel fuel. The factors affecting the price of yellow grease and UCO are an illustrative example of the reasons for price fluctuations.

How to get the most value from your used cooking oil?

Is there anything you, as a restaurant owner or food processor, can do to maximize the value of your UCO?

You are required to recycle your oil so begin there. Choose a recycler like Detroit Grease that does not charge for picking up your oil but will provide a rebate in circumstances where the quality and quantity of your oil merit that.

Providing reasonably clean oil is essential to your recycler being able to recycle it and get value from it. How do you ensure you provide clean used cooking oil?

Providing good quality oil helps insure you get paid for your cooking oil. The very best solution is to have your recycler install an indoor used cooking oil recycling tank.

What are the environmental benefits of recycling used cooking oil?

Reduced reliance on fossil fuels:

Used cooking oil can be transformed into biodiesel, a clean-burning alternative to traditional diesel fuel. This means less dependence on fossil fuels, which can contribute to climate change. 

Lower greenhouse gas emissions:

Biodiesel produced from used cooking oil burns cleaner than petroleum diesel, resulting in significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions. This helps combat climate change and creates a healthier environment. Argonne National Labs estimates that biodiesel reduces GHG (greenhouse gas emissions) by 74% vs. regular diesel. California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard Pathways (LCFS) shows renewable diesel reduces carbon intensities by 65% versus standard diesel.

Protecting waterways and fish:

When you pour used cooking oil down the drain, it can clog sewer systems and pollute waterways. This harms aquatic life and disrupts ecosystems. Recycling used cooking oil keeps it out of the water, protecting our public waterways, fish and wildlife.

Lowering methane emissions:

Used cooking oil that isn’t recycled ends up in landfills, taking up valuable space and contributing to methane emissions, another potent greenhouse gas. Oil in landfills can also make its way to aquifers and water supplies.

The environmental benefits of using biofuels from used cooking oil have the potential to have a huge impact on lowering the volume of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

What is the best frying oil?

This often asked question is difficult to answer and can merit very different answers. The reason for the debate is that one has to establish the criteria for judging the best frying oil and those can vary. So what are the criteria?

For most restaurants, the important characteristics of cooking oil would include at least some of these factors:

  1. Price
  2. Longevity
  3. Durability
  4. Flavor
  5. Smoke point
  6. Health Factors
  7. Foods being fried

With 7 factors to weigh it can be a tough choice. And the audiences to judge include the restaurant owner, the bottom line, and the clients.

In short, the best frying oil is the oil that provides the best price, the best flavor, the best longevity, durability and is the best health choice.

The cost of cooking oil is a large and growing expense for restaurants. The pandemic saw big increases in the price of cooking oil. Is the lowest priced oil a good solution? Maybe, but perhaps the lowest priced oil doesn’t last as long, so overall it is not the cheapest.

The longevity and durability are important factors affecting cost and flavor, but also vary with the care taken of the oil. Is it filtered, polished, changed regularly and does the restaurant follow best practices in its use of cooking oil? This question is usually phrased in the form of “How many times can I reuse my frying oil?”

How many times can you reuse frying oil?

And that question requires a long answer which includes factors like the oil that is purchased, the food being fried, the temperature at which you fry, whether the oil is filtered or polished and whether the kitchen follows best management practices for oil preservation in the kitchen.

For home chefs this is a good answer to how long can you reuse frying oil?

Smoke point is important because smoky oil can impart bad flavors to foods. At what temperature are foodstuffs being fried?

The flavor of oil is important. Does the restaurant want an oil with a low transference of flavor, or an oil that imparts a desirable flavor to the food being fried?

Some oils are given high grades for heart healthiness, or low fat content. What health factors does the restaurant want to focus on?

And the foods being fried is a very important factor. Some foods take better to certain oils and of course the temperature requirements of the foods being fried are critical. The most important factor is how you treat the oil in terms of filtering, polishing and the steps taken to prevent and remove contaminants.

A much more detailed answer to this question will be provided in our blog.

What do used cooking oil recycling companies do?

UCO companies pickup used cooking oil from restaurants, commercial kitchens and food processing companies and prepare it for sale to biofuel processors. 

To do that, they develop a relationship with the provider, provide an oil bin or collection system, and regularly (when the oil tank is near full) collect the oil. They often clean up the area around an outdoor bin if it is soiled. They are available for emergency pickups or spills.

UCO companies, in addition to providing bins, can provide access to tools for transporting the oil (ecotubs, caddies, shortening shuttles) which make it easier and safer to move cooking oil to the point of collection or to the bin.

They work with the provider of UCO to prevent theft which has become a big business involving organized crime. Not only is the value of oil lost in a theft, but often contents are spilled, equipment destroyed and employees put at risk.

When merited, a UCO collector provides a rebate, a valuable revenue stream to a restaurant for providing the oil to the collector.

Additionally, UCO collectors provide a valuable recordkeeping service. A restaurant owner is legally responsible for the disposition of used oil, even if it is hauled away by a third party. UCO collectors should keep detailed records of every pickup they make, which would include date and time of pickup, amount of oil collected and the name and address of the provider of the oil. These records help the restaurant owner to document the transfer of the oil to the collector, but ,very importantly it allows the collector to “source” the oil to stay in compliance with EPA regulations when it comes to selling the oil to a biodiesel refiner. This allows the collector to get the best value for the oil which insures he can pay a rebate to the restaurateur. Without these records the cradle to grave tracking required by the EPA and LCFS (California’s low carbon fuel standard system) is broken and the value of the oil greatly reduced.

How to choose a UCO recycling company?

Selecting a UCO recycling company is choosing a partner for your restaurant or commercial kitchen. Choosing wrong can be disastrous. Choosing well can smooth the path to a clean, compliant kitchen and a healthy revenue stream.

Are all grease collectors the same?

Not all grease partners are the same.  The industry giants do a credible job for a few very large customers. But if you aren’t a large producer, you might not get the attention, responsiveness, timely pickups and emergency response that you are looking for. In order to serve large customers, the giant companies employ subcontractors and giant call centers.

Medium size grease collectors won’t outsource their service delivery

Medium sized grease disposal companies have owners or employees who are accessible 24/7 for emergencies. At Detroit Grease, anytime you call, you’ll reach an owner. Not a call center, but an owner who knows who you are. Our equipment is all company owned and all staff are employees. Medium sized companies like Detroit Grease can manage high quality service and maintain it. They typically don’t insist on contracts because they know their service is what keeps clients with them.

Liability insurance for grease collectors

Insurance is critical. Ask about their liability insurance. Look for $1MM liability per event.

Emergency call handling

Ask who an emergency call goes to. Does it go to a call center who has to search for someone to get the authorization to respond? Or does it go to an owner who can make a decision then and there and get you help immediately and respond quickly to your emergency.

References

Ask to call a couple of their costumers to get their feedback on the services they receive or look for Google reviews online.

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