Got grease? In Cary, you can get it picked up

The town is testing a program for curbside collection of cooking oil

Staff WriterNovember 27, 2008 

  • Now through Jan. 30, Cary residents can collect their cooking oils, fats and grease and schedule a pickup from the town.

    Residents who want to participate in this test program can follow these steps:

    1. Place waste cooking oils or grease in a sealable container.

    2. Label the container "Waste Cooking Oil" and secure the cap.

    3. Call public works customer service at 469-4090 to schedule a pick-up. There is a minimum pickup of one-half gallon of oils or grease.

    4. Place waste cooking oil at the curb by 7 a.m. on day of scheduled collection.

    The oil and grease will be taken to the public works operation center for pick-up by a local bio-diesel producer.

    Cary also collects motor oil at the curb and recycles it.

    For more information, visit www.townofcary.org/grease.

— If your Thanksgiving feast produces some excess grease and oil and you live in Cary, the town wants to hear from you.

The town has started a pilot program that provides curbside collection of used cooking oil and grease. The program aims to help people properly dispose of cooking grease and persuade them not to dump it down their kitchen drains.

According to the town, oil and grease contributed to stopped-up pipes in Cary that produced 16 sewer overflows in 2006 and six more in 2007.

"Collectively, it can add up to sewer-choking clogs," said Donald Smith, the town utility technician overseeing the program. "So what we want to do is give citizens a more convenient option of properly disposing of their cooking oil."

The collected oil and grease will be used by a local commercial bio-diesel producer, Smith said.

The program began Nov. 17 and is set to run through Jan. 30. The program comes as ambitious home cooks are frying turkeys and preparing large holiday meals that can produce greasy leftovers.

Grease-clogged sewer pipes are a common problem for utility managers. A few years ago, the city of Raleigh introduced Neusie, a fish mascot, as part of an educational campaign warning residents of the environmental perils of pouring grease down the drain.

But state officials think Cary is the only city or town in North Carolina offering curbside collection of cooking oil and grease. Many municipalities limit their campaigns to educational pamphlets showing residents the proper ways to dispose of cooking oil and grease.

"It's pretty innovative," said Scott Mouw, head of the state Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance. "I would say it's exceptional."

No residents have taken advantage of the program yet, Smith said, but the town hopes to collect at least 200 gallons of cooking oil and grease by the end of January.

lorenzo.perez@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4643

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