Used cooking oil discharged into rivers instead of being used as biodiesel

Millions of litres of used cooking oil end up in drains and rivers throughout Serbia every year, although the used oil could utilized to produce biodiesel, which reduces harmful gases that create the greenhouse effect.

Companies and establishments are obligated by law to properly dispose of the oil they use, and this includes all restaurants, hotels, roasting facilities, industrial companies and oil mills in Serbia. Although the awareness of recycling used cooking oil is not widespread, individuals can also safely dispose of such oil, even though they are not legally obliged, and even earn money while doing so.

This practice has obviously not yet taken root in Serbia, as seen from the data collated by the Environmental Protection Agency which shows that in 2021, over 5.3 thousand tons of used cooking oil was collected from companies, and only 7 percent was collected from individuals (a total of 366 tonnes). Nevertheless, the number of people who properly dispose of used cooking oil is not growing – in 2020, they disposed of 316 tonnes, and in 2021, only 23 tonnes.

The Eso Tron Company, which collects and disposes of used cooking oil, says there is a growing interest in the disposal of this oil by households in Serbia, but, according to them, the legal framework dealing with used cooking oil, generated in households, is not well defined.

They say that used cooking oil generated by individuals should fall under the category of municipal waste, so public utility companies will be obliged to organize separate collections and transport of such oil.

“Such projects are still in their infancy in the EU countries. The biggest challenge is the raising individual awareness, followed by quality separation and, of course, the cost of collecting minimal quantities in a large number of locations”, Eso Tron says, which collects around 3,000 tonnes of used cooking oil annually.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency data, only 88 tonnes of used cooking was adequately disposed of in Serbia last year, compared to 2018, when 2,691 tonnes were disposed of. However, used cooking oil export went up by significantly – 4,423 tonnes in 2021 compared to 2,925 tonnes in 2018.

The data from the Environmental Protection Agency show that between 22,000 and 30,000 tonnes of used cooking oil will have been generated annually by 2030.

(Bloomberg Adria, 27.10.2022)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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