Owning and operating a food truck can be a rewarding experience, without many of the potential pitfalls of restaurant entrepreneurship -- from the risk of uncontrollably rising rents to the fear that your neighborhood will decline and take foot traffic with it. However, the lack of easy and convenient waste disposal methods can be a downside for those whose restaurants aren't tied to a single physical location. Read on to learn more about some of the most unique and efficient waste oil disposal methods for food truck operators.
Why is a waste oil disposal protocol crucial for your business?
Any restaurant that utilizes deep fryers can generate a great deal of waste oil on a regular basis. Even if you choose to fry your food in well-seasoned oil to enhance flavor, most state food safety regulations will require you to drain your fryers and replenish them with fresh oil periodically (or at least once the food particles in this oil begin to turn rancid). Pouring this oil down the drain can cause major damage to your plumbing and septic system, while dumping it elsewhere can be messy and illegal.
Having a waste oil disposal protocol for your food truck is essential to preventing unexpected hiccups or requiring you to pay high emergency disposal fees when you're caught in a situation that requires you to instantly drain and refill your oil fryers (like outside contamination or a food-borne illness scare). Fortunately, developing such a protocol doesn't have to be a challenge. Once you've evaluated your various waste oil disposal and recycling options, you'll have much of the information you'll need to make the right decision for your business.
What recycling or disposal options are best suited for food trucks?
One option you may want to investigate is a drop-off recycling service. While many oil recycling facilities will dispatch employees to retrieve waste oil from stationary receptacles, a food truck operator may not have "dumping" permission at any area receptacles. However, simply swinging by the oil recycling plant with your waste oil and dropping it off on site can save you in disposal fees and provide you with a convenient way to get rid of your old oil before replenishing your supply.
Another potential disposal method won't require you to dispose of the oil at all, but to process it into biodiesel you'll be able to use to power your food truck's diesel generator or even the truck itself. If you have the room to set up a few large plastic barrels in a garage or basement and the desire to minimize oil waste while saving money on heating and fuel costs, biodiesel generation may be right for you.
There are detailed instructions available online, as well as spirited debate among biodiesel distillers regarding the most efficient way to derive pure biodiesel from waste restaurant oil, but the basic equipment and ingredients you'll need are two large barrels (each big enough to contain the amount of waste oil you're hoping to process), some copper tubing and fittings to transport the oil from one tank to the other, a solvent like methanol that can set into motion the chain reaction that will transform your waste oil into glycerin and biodiesel.
Well-filtered biodiesel can take the place of heating oil or diesel fuel in a number of applications, from vehicles to power generators to furnaces. You'll want to begin this process by mixing in only a small amount of biodiesel with your regular fuel source. Over time you'll be able to increase the proportion of biodiesel you use until it's fully replaced the prior fuel source.
For more information and options, talk with companies that offer grease removal, such as Tierra Environmental & Industrial Services.