Recyclable oils are abundant — they naturally occur anywhere there are French fries, for example, or used motor oil, two things which, strangely enough, often exist side-by-side. The challenge is not that we are an economy with a dearth of disgusting grease; the problem is getting said disgusting grease from people who would otherwise throw it out to people who would like to put it into their old Mercedes diesels and drive around listening to the Decemberists.
Now, a Florida company is hoping to solve this problem (and make money in the process since that’s how capitalism is supposed to work, theoretically at least) with a website that lets sellers list the location of their leftover oil on an online auction platform, to be bid on by a network of buyers. It’s kind of like eBay but without cute shoes. This ad does a pretty good job explaining how it works:[vimeo 45644631]
There are many reasons it would be Good For Mother Earth if this experiment took off. One, cars powered by recyclable oils are much cleaner than cars that burn gasoline. Two, used oil recycled as fuel does not have to go into landfills. And three, recyclable oils are a much cheaper and greener industrial lubricant than the kind that comes from crude, and this availability might encourage more companies to use it.
There will of course be those who bitch about the corporate nature of this venture, and we preempt their complaints here: Organizations like this don’t need to be the end of “Oh, hey, I know this hippie down at the end of the road and I totally power mine and my old lady’s ride like so fully on his grease from his veggie burger stand and I’m stoked.” You can still do that! But should Sirius Timberwolf or his supply prove undependable for any reason, websites like this one might be of use.