Officials in the USA’s State of South Carolina’s capital city are turning one man’s trash into a treasure of sorts — fuel that they’ll use to transport more trash.
Columbia city officials on Monday. Officials are encouraging Columbia residents to drop off their used cooking oil at the city’s public works department.
Midlands Biofuels, of Winnsboro, will collect the oil each week and convert it into fuel to power one of Columbia’s garbage trucks.
The program has two purposes:
- To cut down on the amount of grease dumped into the city’s sewer system. The grease caused 460 sewer spills last year, which dumped 2.1 million gallons of raw sewage into the community.
- To reduce the vehicle emissions of harmful pollutants that contribute to bad ozone, the kind that is formed at ground level by a mixture of chemicals in warm weather.
The program represents a baby step in both directions. It is only open to Columbia city residents, who make up less than half of the city’s sewer customers. And the biodiesel will run only one of the city’s 60 garbage trucks.
But city and state officials praised the program as a good start during a Monday news conference.
“I think the city of Columbia is definitely further ahead than anybody else, certainly on this scale,” said Brian Barnes, environmental health manager for the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.
Midlands Biofuels was founded by Joe Renwick and Brandon Spence, two Citadel graduates who majored in business and got into biodiesel after Renwick built a bioreactor in his garage.