Used Cooking Oil Recycling Program Successfully Works Itself Out of a Job

Recycling used cooking oil is now a “thing” that the SFPUC is shifting its focus on more education, while the private sector continues to expand its commercial oil recycling efforts.

The residential collection bins for used cooking oil located around San Francisco will be removed on Tuesday, September 3, officially signaling the conclusion of a successful program that has helped to reduce 49 million pounds of CO2 emissions during its 12-year lifespan.

Before the enactment of fats, oils, and grease (FOG) control programs by the SFPUC, it was estimated that FOG-related blockages cost the City millions of dollars a year in maintenance and repair. SFGreasecycle was developed in 2007 with the intention of diverting FOG from our sewer infrastructure and helping residents and restaurants with a simple and cost-effective way to dispose of their used cooking oil. As a result of public outreach, the education of businesses and residents, and the participation of residents, the annual number of grease-related sewer issues has dropped significantly.

Resident dropping off used cooking oil at a collection bin.

Over the years, the residential program of SFGreasecycle has collected over 49,000 gallons of used cooking oil from residents and has reduced 745,123 pounds of CO2 emissions through production of biodiesel from used cooking oil collected from residents.

“We are proud to have provided this service to residents of the City over the past 12 years,” said Autumn Cleave, pollution prevention specialist for the Wastewater Enterprise. Our store partners, like Whole Foods and Rainbow Grocery, residents like you, and the SFGreasecycle team really made it possible.

SFGreasecycle collection bins will be removed on September 3.

With the conclusion of the commercial program of SFGreasecycle earlier this year, the SFPUC has decided to also end the residential program. The agency is now shifting its focus towards educating San Francisco residents on how to properly collect and dispose of their used cooking oil.

Residents can compost their used cooking oil or collect it and re-use it again (first make sure to strain out the food scraps). Residents with large amounts of used cooking oil can contact Recology at (410) 330-1400 to see if they are able to accept it.

“The success of the SFGreaseycle program is through the dedication of the team members,” said Cleave. “Even though the program has worked itself out of a job, we still want to remind everyone that used cooking oil does not belong down the drain and that there many other options to take for properly disposing of used cooking oil.”

SFGreasecycle residential collection bins for used cooking oil located around San Francisco will be removed on Tuesday, September 3.