Europe

Community in Spain Collects Used Olive Oil to Make Soap

Aug. 24, 2010
By Daniel Williams

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By Daniel Williams
Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from Barcelona

Local Government of Lleida, Spain Initiates Campaign to Recycle Used Olive and other Cooking Oils to Make Soap and Biofuel

The munic­i­pal­ity of Montgai in Lleida, Spain has devel­oped an ini­tia­tive to recy­cle used cook­ing (mostly olive) oil from local res­i­dents in order to create soap and bio­fuel. The inno­v­a­tive pro­gram “Net Fair, Soap Fair” was jointly imple­mented by the mayor of Montgai and the coun­cil of Lleida and seeks to reuse the left­over quan­ti­ties of var­i­ous oils used in Spanish cook­ing and con­vert them to more useful pur­poses. The oil which is unable to be used in the soap-making process
will be for­warded on to a recy­cling com­pany to be con­verted into bio­fuel.

Mr. Jaume Gilabert, mayor of Montgai and President of the Lledia Council, recently explained that 300 con­tain­ers able to hold 5 liters of oil each are to be dis­trib­uted through­out the munic­i­pal­ity and that res­i­dents will be able to take their used domes­tic cook­ing oils to these drop-off points where it will be picked up and taken to a hold­ing tank capa­ble of hous­ing 600 liters of used oil. When the amount of oil exceeds the 600 liter limit, the remain­ing oil will be sent to a com­pany spe­cial­iz­ing in the cre­ation of bio­fuel from left­over cook­ing oils.

The pro­gram also hopes to edu­cate res­i­dents about the impor­tance of eco­log­i­cal sen­si­tiv­ity with respect to the dis­posal and recy­cling of used cook­ing oils. Gilabert has hoped that through the imple­men­ta­tion of this recy­cling pro­gram and fur­ther public edu­ca­tion, “we can avoid the dis­pos­ing of oil down the sinks of homes”[1], which not only blocks pipes and plumb­ing but can make sewage treat­ment much more dif­fi­cult. A single liter of oil can con­t­a­m­i­nate as much as 1 mil­lion liters of water and can kill fish and plants by pre­vent­ing the exchange of oxygen. [2]

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The pre­sen­ta­tion of the project came during the course of a con­fer­ence on olive oil recy­cling through­out Lleida, Spain. According to fig­ures given during the pre­sen­ta­tion, the aver­age Spanish cit­i­zen con­sumes some 20.82 liters of var­i­ous cook­ing oils each year and 13.5 liters of that oil, some 65%, is then trans­formed into house­hold waste. So far, the ini­tia­tive has been met with great sup­port from res­i­dents of the region and Gilabert hopes that other munic­i­pal­i­ties will show inter­est and the pro­gram will be even­tu­ally extended else­where.

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[1]  “Un pueblo de Lleida recogerá el aceite usado de los veci­nos para hacer jabón” Econoticias.com

[2]  “Tips to avoid water waste and to require the preser­va­tion of hydro-resources”. Natureba — Educação Ambiental.

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