The Environment Agency and WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) has proposed reducing red-tape so that waste vegetable oil from places like chip shops can be processed and used in engines more easily.
“Biodiesel derived from waste vegetable oil is carbon-neutral; it reduces waste and improves resource efficiency,” said Martin Brocklehurst, head of external programmes at the Environment Agency.
“We have worked with the biodiesel industry to develop this proposal, a quality protocol for waste vegetable oil, which will save businesses the time and costs associated with meeting waste regulations.
"By deregulating biodiesel made from waste vegetable oil, the product can better compete with biodiesel derived from virgin oil. This will also increase the volume of waste vegetable oil recovered from places like take-aways, restaurants and food manufacturing sites. It should also reduce the amount disposed to sewer with all the benefits that will bring to the water industry."
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By 2008/09, at least 2.5% of fuel consumed in the UK must be biofuel, rising to 5% in 2010/11.
“Despite approximately 100,000 tonnes of waste vegetable oil being collected from the catering and food industries each year, a considerable amount still goes uncollected and often ends up being poured down the drain. But a quality protocol should help stimulate the biodiesel industry to access this resource by providing assurances that waste vegetable oil and virgin oil can produce biodiesel of virtually the same quality,” said Mr Brocklehurst.
Waste vegetable oil has a high calorific value and although it may have come to the end of its useful life in cooking, the energy contained within is still present and can be used.
In order to encourage the use of biodiesel derived from waste vegetable oil, biodiesel which meets the requirements of the protocol will not longer require environmental authorisations for its storage and use as an engine fuel.
WRAP’s Dr Richard Swannell, joint project executive for the Waste Protocols Project, said: “The Waste Protocols Project, run jointly by the Environment Agency and WRAP, demonstrates the benefits of working in collaboration with trade bodies, business and industry to develop solutions that meets the needs of the market whilst also protecting the environment. It shows a good example of the Environment Agency and WRAP easing regulation and creating new business opportunities.”