Asheville restaurants to recycle with local biofuels producers under new certification
Restaurants in Asheville, N.C., are now required to recycle their used cooking oil through local biofuels producers in order to receive Green Restaurant Association (GRA) certification. The GRA is a national nonprofit organization helping restaurants become more environmentally responsible. Thanks in part to Biofuels Center civic and small-scale biofuels projects manager Leif Forer, Asheville adds its name to a short list of cities with the requirement, including Baltimore, Md.; Boston, Mass.; and Portland, Ore. Prior to the decision, restaurants in Asheville receiving GRA certification were permitted to use any service provider, the majority of which are based outside of North Carolina. These service providers take the valuable resource of used cooking oil away from the local economy and from biofuels production, thus adding to a restaurant’s carbon footprint instead of improving it.
Blue Ridge Biofuels contacted Forer, who also serves as president of the North Carolina Biodiesel Association, in an effort to build a case for changing the GRA certification requirement in Asheville. GRA founder Michael Oshman ultimately made the final decision to modify certification requirements, ensuring that establishments seeking Green Restaurant certification are having the biggest impact possible on air quality by supporting local biodiesel production used for farming, transportation, and industrial manufacturing.
Used cooking oil is a valuable commodity with many applications, including animal feed and the manufacturing of makeup, soap, and biodiesel. Competition has driven prices paid to restaurants for their used cooking oil to record highs. The requirement that restaurants seeking Green Restaurant certification must now use local biofuels producers as their oil collection service provider ensures that the restaurants are fulfilling their mission to be truly sustainable establishments.
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