Editor’s Note: This is Part One in a series of articles by John Rarrick examining how small businesses are turning to Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO) to tighten their belts while simultaneously reducing their carbon footprints.
Like many small business owners, Jose Duarte, Chef/Owner of Taranta, in Boston, MA, is constantly looking for ways to control costs in an economic climate that has no sympathy for the little guy. Fortunately for Duarte, discovering ways to trim his operating overhead also led to a “greening of Taranta.”
“I was looking for ways to cut our costs and I stumbled upon an article about these people running their diesel cars and trucks on fryer oil. I figured that was a good place to start,” said Duarte.
Calculating that he could save a few thousand dollars a year on the fuel costs he incurred from daily runs to his seafood vendors, Duarte turned to Boston-based Green Grease Monkey for advice on converting the restaurant’s Chevy Silverado to run on WVO.
Now he recycles not only his own grease, but that of the restaurants owned by several of his friends.
What was admittedly at first an experiment, turned into an obsession, with Duarte becoming increasingly more involved in the environmental impact of his business. After implementing a series of changes and upgrades to the restaurant, including an in-house carbonating system that enables them to make their own sparkling water supply, a recycling/composting program, and a move to utilizing more organic ingredients, Taranta received the City of Boston’s Green Business Award for 2008.
Conversely, some companies start off with green missions and add on WVO-powered vehicles as a logical extension of their overall brand strategies. ThermaPure, the Ventura, CA-based company that utilizes a patented, and reportedly environmentally safe procedure using heat to rid homes of insects, molds, and other airborne allergens, has recently converted 80% of their fleet of Ford and Isuzu trucks to run on WVO.
“We were already running a lot of our equipment on veggie oil, so the move to power our vehicles with WVO from local rendering companies was an easy step for us,” said David Hedman, CEO at ThermaPure.
Hedman says his company will save about $67,000 in 2009 by running their trucks and equipment on WVO. But he maintains that while the savings are certainly something he welcomes, his company chose to run both their trucks and their equipment on grease ultimately for greener reasons.
Image Credit: Photo Courtesy of Taranta