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Used cooking oil is valuable in Kerala with 50,000 litres collected monthly to produce bio-diesel

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Do not discard used cooking oil. A litre of it will fetch you Rs 40 to 60. The Repurpose Cooking Oil (RUCO) project has emerged a success in Kerala as 50,000 litres of used oil are collected per month from hotels and eateries in the state for converting it into bio-diesel and soap.

The project, which was initiated by Department of Food Safety to check reuse of cooking oil in hotels and eateries, has now received widespread praise for its innovative approach towards waste management and renewable energy production.

Senior officials with the department said the state has achieved significant success as the project collects an average of 50,000 litres of used oil per month mainly from hotels, eateries and other food manufacturing units to create organic diesel and soap. “While four companies in Kerala are actively involved in procuring used oil for bio-diesel production, one company collects the used oil specifically for soap manufacturing,” said an officer.

According to an official statement, methanol is added and heated to the used oil, which then undergo various stages of processing to produce organic diesel The organic diesel is then sold at Rs 185 per litre.

Bio-diesel manufacturing companies in Kerala are currently operational in Kasargod, Kozhikode, Thrissur, and Irinjalakuda. The soap manufacturing unit is located in Kottakkal, Malappuram.

The initiative not only addresses the problem of improper disposal of cooking oil, which often clogs drains and pollutes water bodies, but also contributes to reducing dependency on fossil fuels through the production of biodiesel. The success of the RUCO project benefits not only the environment but also presents economic opportunities for local communities. The project creates a closed-loop system that promotes sustainability and circular economy.

“The Department of Food Safety introduced the RUCO project to prevent hotels and eateries from re-using the cooked oil which is harmful to health. Another significant outcome of the RUCO initiative is the reduction in environmental pollution caused by improper disposal of cooking oil. By diverting used oil away from landfills and waterways, it helped reduce the negative impact of the waste on ecosystems and public health,” the official added.

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