Aiken company sets out to recycle cooking oil

If you are looking for a safe way to dispose that cooking oil you used for your holiday meals, you may be in luck. One Aiken man said he has a sure way to turn old oil into something useful.

"We think we are giving people a better option, to recycle the vegetable," said Norman Dunagan, the CEO of Dumpster Depot.

Dunagan said many people dump their oils in less than desirable places.

"It's a menace for our local communities; pour it down the drains or they pour it down the sewage system and it clogs pipes that our municipalities have to spend money and time, cleaning up."

Dunagan is the CEO of Dumpster Depot and his company said it can turn used cooking oil into diesel fuel.  

"When we first get it, it's got a lot of sedimentation, even food particles left in the oil," Dunagan said. "When we get through processing it, it separates. The thing at the bottom is glycerin and at the top is pure bio diesel."

The process takes 4 to 6 hours and can make up to 80 gallons in one batch.

So, how does this all work?

"First we put it into a de-watering tank," Dunagan explained.

This helps remove the water. Any water that goes through the system could clog the fuel filter.

"Second, we put it into our processor. We mix some chemicals with it and through a heating process, we get all the fats to bind with the methanol which makes glycerol and from there we put it into a settling tank," Dunagan said.

All the byproducts made from this process are used. The fuel for trash trucks and

"The methanol goes back into future batches of bio diesel. The glycerin turns into soap," said Dunagan.

Dunagan and his crew at Dumpster Depot will be collecting used cooking oil on Saturday, November 30 at the Aiken County Family YMCA on Trolley Line Road in Graniteville and at Fastenal on Washington Road in Augusta from 11 am to 2 PM.

After November 30, oil may be dropped off at Dumpster Depot on Kershaw Street in Aiken.  Cooking oil may be dropped off at either location in a milk jug, bucket or the container the oil was in when purchased.