Collective efforts have led to an increase in biofuel production from waste frying oils and to fewer exports, it emerged this week.
According to Agriculture Minister, Nicos Kouyialis, in his response to a parliamentary question put forward by the Greens MP Giorgos Perdikis, as to the collection of waste frying oils, there are currently 38 licensed collectors/transporters, three facilities for storage /export and three facilities for processing the waste, of which two also produce biofuel.
In 2015, 16,000 tonnes of frying oils were imported, the minister said, for the preparation of products for human consumption, while the waste frying oil that year was estimated at 4,000 tonnes, around half coming from restaurants and catering establishments and half from households.
In the same year, 1,135 tonnes of waste frying oils – 1,061 tonnes from business establishments and 74 tonnes from households – were collected, of which 587 tonnes were processed and turned into biofuel and the rest exported to be processed abroad.
“It is worth noting that, compared to 2014, the quantities of waste frying oils for biofuel increased, and their export dropped,” Kouyialis said.
He added that the biggest collection percentage of waste frying oils in Cyprus comes from restaurants, hotels, hospitals, and army barracks.
Responding to the second part of the question, on actions taken to increase the collection percentage, Kouyialis said that a number of actions were underway to raise awareness among the public and businesses.
“Important also is the collective effort for the collection of used cooking oils from households by ‘Tiganokinisi’ through pupils and their schools,” Kouyialis said.
‘Tiganokinisi’ is an educational, environmental programme, launched by the non-governmental organisation Akti, which focuses on the collection and recycling of used cooking oil, and has been successfully applied in more than 200 schools all over the island.
According to Akti, a single used cooking oil drop on the ground can create those conditions that encourage the development of enough germs that are harmful to humans, to contaminate a tonne of water. Taking into consideration that it takes 100 times more effort for microorganisms to break down oil than human waste, dumping 10,000 cubic metres of used cooking oil in the environment equals to dumping one million cubic metres of human waste.
Other environmental organisations argue that used cooking oils dumped in the environment could coat animals and plants and suffocate them by oxygen depletion, become toxic and form toxic products, could destroy future and existing food supplies, habitats, and clog water treatment plants.
Individuals can take their used cooking oils to their local school to be picked up by Tiganokinisi, but they can also call the group to arrange for someone to collect it from their homes. “Gather your oil that has been used for frying, cooking in the oven, found in tuna cans or salads in a tight container, and when you reach at least four litres call us at 97 870808 to come and collect it,” the group says.
To find out which schools collect used cooking oil visit: http://www.tiganokinisi.eu/schools