Earth Watch: Hillsborough County oil recycling program

- “We try to get the message out especially during the summer because people are out more. They want to do outdoor activities,” said Robert Evans Grease Management Supervisor C.O.R.E. Project.

After enjoying a delicious meal think twice before you put the leftovers down the drain.

“A lot of people will say I don't use cooking oil. Cooking oil means all fats, oils and grease from food,” explained Evans.

Even butter, salad dressing and gravy need to be kept out of the sink and put into a recycling container.

“Some people think we will run hot water or put soap in afterwards down the garbage disposal. They think that will help. It doesn’t,” said Ed Watson Environmental Specialist Hillsborough County Public Utilities.

Hillsborough county’s successful C.O.R.E. or cooking oil recycling program was born in 2012.

“We give away the bottles to help people to get started and to know about it, “ said Evans.

”When you pour cooking oil or grease down the drain it actually starts to gel and solidify inside the pipes,” said Watson.

“You have to get a plumber out and that costs a lot of money. Once it gets into our system it ends up plugging up Hillsborough county system and then it causes a sanitary system overflow,” explained Evans.

This is a big public health concern but also an environmental concern.

“It could get into our waterways as well,” said Evans.

Last year Hillsborough county recycled 4500 gallons of cooking oil. Their goal is to double that number in 2016.

“We will actually go door to door and leave information for people to know exactly what's going on,” said Evans.

Oil is collected at 21 convenient drop off sites throughout Hillsborough county. The cabinets are emptied twice a week. Helping the environment one container at a time.

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