Thursday, September 25, 2008

Collection-Filtration Collaboration?

It has come to our attention in the last several months that MANY of our local friends who collect WVO have run into supply issues. There are several contributing factors. They include:
1) the cost of new cooking oil, which has kitchens attempting to reduce their usage (and increasing how long they keep oil working in the fryolator),
2) the surge of interest in WVO as raw material for biodiesel, creating pockets of competition,
3) the cost of diesel pushing more folks to convert their vehicles, creating other pockets of competition for WVO,
and 4) the high price of Yellow Grease on the commodities market, which has rendering companies competing to buy WVO from all sources.

Five years ago, who would've thought that our favorite waste product would become so popular? Those who got into greasing to save money now feel disgruntled. Those who wanted to reduce their petroleum use are feeling pinched. Businesses have started to lock their grease dumpsters to avoid theft. There's one oil company in my neighborhood that's buying its way into the grease market (ironically, they seem to be using it to heat their operations!). Here at Evergreen, we've had to raise our SmarterFuel price several times, while seeing an influx of customers whose sources are drying up.

What are the options? Well, one idea is to work together. With a collaborative group (or groups), we can create buying power and a good system for collecting WVO, maybe even secure some new accounts. Also, there are several possibilities for doing low-cost, high-quality bulk filtration. It's not rocket science, but it does require participation and organization. Here at the shop, we can offer our space for people to meet and organize a workable system. We can also provide support for collection & filtration. Local greasers, let us know your thoughts on collaborating to create "grease security" in the Valley!


Culture Dove said...

Count me in on this conversation. I bought an already converted Greasecar about 2 months ago now and I have been sadly amazed at the lack of availability of WVO. I've heard again and again, "they now pay me to remove it." I've considered offering a higher amount (although someone told me that he was getting $10 or more for a cube making the cost similar to gasoline at the pump). Fortunately I've found a couple of local sources that seem to be meeting my needs, but we'll see if it is enough. I want others to drive greasers too, but a part of me is hesitant since I worry that we will compete for the same WVO.

Anonymous said...

I, for one, would enjoy meeting more greasers to figure out if a colla/cooperative would be an option to provide us with lower cost VO. I certainly would be available to put in some hours in production work. Or, whatever would be needed to get this off the ground, collecting? Canvassing potential donors?

Dutch Nurse said...

Hey there,
Might it be worth to see if there is a farmer who would like to produce rapeseed, or some other oil producing plant, where we can buy his crop and/or get it crushed for oil. The economics of this idea would have to be explored but it seems to me that we better start thinking about a reliable source of clean good VO. After making a good size investment in an older car it does not feel good to have supply problems because the idea has become popular.

Anonymous said...

Daryl and I are planning to pick a date in November for interested parties to meet here at Evergreen and brainstorm/plan/explore the possibilities. Stay tuned for a date!