DOBSON — Homeowners, civic organizations and others who use cooking oil will soon have a cleaner and more environmentally-friendly way to dispose of used oil, thanks to Dennis Bledsoe, Surry County’s interim director of Public Works.
Bledsoe appeared before the Surry County Board of Commissioners Monday to seek permission to begin the recycling of cooking oil in the county.
After hearing the benefits of the project, the board gave him the go-ahead to try the program for a year to gauge interest and participation.
Within the next month, receptacles will be placed at eight of the county’s 13 recycling stations, including Ararat River, Elkin, Fisher River, Flat Rock, the Surry County Landfill, North Surry, Westfield and Wilmoth Road.
The only product that will be recycled, Bledsoe cautioned, is cooking oil.
“We don’t want motor oil,” he said emphatically. Motor oil is only accepted during the annual Household Hazardous Waste Day, held Oct. 27 this year at Veterans Park.
Addressing the board, Bledsoe said he has been in discussions with a company that has been recycling cooking oil since 1953.
According to the agreement, the company, Mahoney Environmental, will place tanks for cooking oil at the locations. They will service them and provide all the upkeep free of charge to the county.
In return, Mahoney Environmental will pay the county what Bledsoe described as a “little bit of money” for the oil collected.
Once cleaned, sanitized and filtered, the oil will be used to enhance livestock feed, according to Bledsoe.
“My understanding is that it has some fat in it, and increases the fat and mineral levels in the feed,” he said.
If the public supports the effort, the program is what Bledsoe called a win-win for everyone concerned.
“We’re going to be getting a little bit of money while helping clean up the environment at the same time,” he said.
Bledsoe said that while only cooking oil will be accepted, he hopes the public gets excited about recycling.
“There are so many benefits,” he said. “One of the major pluses is that it will keep homeowners’ septic systems from becoming clogged with cooking oil. Once they get clogged up, it’s not cheap to fix.”
In addition, Bledsoe said that with so many civic organizations and fundraisers that involve deep frying, his hope is that they will begin recycling the used oil when they finish using it.
“This will not cost the county a cent, and we might even make a little money,” he said. “This is an asset, rather than a liability.”
While no date is set for the program to begin, Bledsoe said he wanted to get the word out as soon as possible.
“It’s my hope that people will take this effort to heart and bring in their used cooking oil to have it properly disposed of,” he said. “Just put it in a container and pour it into the storage tank.”
Reach Keith Strange at email@example.com or 719-1929.