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Frying Oil at Pacific Serves a New Purpose

Bon Appétit moves sustainability forward
Written by Lily Penfold - Video by Randall GeeJan 13, 2012
"Fryer to Freeway" is a video slideshow that tracks the path of cooking oil from Bon 
Appétit's kitchens to the gas pump.

Every time someone buys French fries in the Don and Karen DeRosa University Center, they are helping the planet Earth.

Granted, fried foods might not be the healthiest eating option; however it is a guilty pleasure that most people enjoy. And starting Nov. 6, this indulgence became a little more sustainable at University of the Pacific. That's because Pacific started collecting all its frying oil and giving it to companies that distribute it to biodiesel manufacturers who use it to fuel diesel-engine vehicles.

"Bon Appétit is able to recycle cooking oil, and do our part on campus to keep Pacific moving in the right direction when it comes to innovation and safe disposal of waste," said Sia Mohsenzadegan, general manager of Bon Appétit at Pacific. "This is a great way for Pacific to be sustainable in yet another area."

Biodiesel fuel produces significantly less emissions and is much friendlier to the environment than regular diesel fuel. Studies also show biodiesel has better lubricating properties than traditional diesel fuels, which reduces engine wear.

Recycling the oil also helps with landfills and wastewater systems, as the oil is a challenge to dispose.  By reusing the oil, it will reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfills.

Green Drive Biodiesel, a Tracy based company, started collecting the oil last semester, testing it for its moisture and fat content before distributing it to several California businesses that produce biodiesel fuels, with a small amount being used for other purposes. Vegetable fat is the most ideal oil to use since food establishments often have difficulties properly disposing of it after it has been used.

The biodiesel businesses, located in Eureka and Southern California, then sells the biodiesel at several fueling stations, including one in Berkeley.

This latest project is one of many sustainability initiatives adopted by Pacific in the past several years. For more information about Pacific's sustainability efforts, visit http://pacific.edu/About-Pacific/Sustaining-Pacific.html.

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about the author

Lily Penfold   Lily Penfold is the Media Relations Assistant at Pacific and also a graduate student in the Communication Department of the College of the Pacific.

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