Sat. Oct 24th, 2020

How to Start a Cooking Oil Recycling Business

Recycling helps sustain the Earth’s natural resources. There are a few ways you can help save the earth while making some money in the process, one of which is recycling cooking oil.  Used cooking oil can be transformed into biodiesel, which is an alternative to diesel oil

The process to create biodiesel does not require sophisticated equipment. Your initial investment won’t be as substantial as it would be if you were to open a business requiring industrial machinery. To start the business you’ll need a collection, test, and marketing plan. 

Make A Collection Plan

The first step in the collection process is to procure containers. If you’ve got containers to give to small restaurants and even homeowners, they will be more likely to collect their used oil for you to pick up. You’ll need a smaller container that won’t take up a lot of space for home use and larger ones for restaurants or even food trucks! 

The next step in the process would be to give the containers out. Go out and canvas in restaurants and neighborhoods to ask the owners if they would be willing to participate in a used cooking oil collection effort. Then, schedule your initial pickup. 

Make Your Biodiesel And Put Your Plans To The Test

Making biodiesel from cooking oil isn’t a long process. The oil must be cleaned and boiled to vanquish impurities. The solution should be tested for titration and then once tested the chemical solutions must be added to complete the process. 

Once the oil is created, a test plan must be in place in order to make sure that the quality of the diesel is on par with what your customers are expecting from you. If you’re unsure of what your customers are expecting, perform user experience testing. You can do this by using a focus group or sending out a satisfaction survey to your users. 

Testing for water content can be done in three ways; by mixing the product with a catalyst, heat in a pan to look for steam, bubbles or crackles, weigh the oil then heat and re-weigh the same oil, use the Sandy Brae water test. 

Once cleaned the oil must be put through a titration test where you add lye, alcohol, and phenolphthalein to the oil to turn the mixture pink. If the oil needs too much lye, it’ll be more costly. Ensure that that source of oil is not used again. 

A test for methanol must be completed to ensure that the solution does not turn into poor biodiesel. Biodiesel conversion tests must be completed to ensure that the conversion from cooking oil was successful.

ASTM tests must be done if the biodiesel is going to be used as fuel. To sell biodiesel commercially you must be certified by the EPA.

Focus On Marketing

Once you’ve figured out where you’d like to sell your biodiesel you need to come up with a marketing plan. Passing out promotional pens and business cards to local businesses like small engine repair shops or even mechanic shops are great ways to market your business. Create a social media campaign that includes big-name social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Ensure that all of your marketing materials indicate that your product is made from recycled material.

Running a business is a lot of work. Coming up with a step by step process in your business plan before you begin your journey is the key to achieving your goals. Once you’ve perfected your process, come up with a great marketing scheme. The product only gets you halfway there, marketing will make your business idea go from a product to a profit.

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