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]

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.



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

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

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