start school biodiesel

How to Start a School Biodiesel Program


Where does all the used cooking oil in cafeterias go? It can be turned into biodiesel. Here’s how to start a school biodiesel program in your community.

A biodiesel program at school can help save the school money! Most cafeterias pay to have their used cooking oil collected for disposal. By starting a school biodiesel program, you will keep the monthly used oil collection costs.

Once you get your school’s biodiesel program up and running, you can use the fuel to power your school buses.

And you can earn government grants that support eco-school programs. Read on to learn how to start a school biodiesel program.

How to Start a School Biodiesel Program

Starting a school biodiesel program is possible. Many schools across the United States have been successful in implementing one.

The first step is to see what other schools have done. In 2008, the Birch Run Area School began a biodiesel program that produced about 100 gallons of diesel fuel per week.

In fact, the school’s program did so well that the students started to travel to other schools to show them how to start their own biodiesel program.

You will need a point person to run this program (or club). It could be a chemistry teacher or other member of staff.

It could be a recurring assignment as part of a course. Or it could be an elective sub-group that is part of your schools Green Team.

The next thing you need is to know how to make biofuel out of grease. Now all you need is a few supplies including used cooking oil.

Find Funding

You may be surprised to learn that there are various start-up grants available that help fund school recycling programs.

You’ll have to do some research. And you’ll likely have to submit a form or two and provide documentation. But it will be worth the effort to get access to some funds to help you get your program off the ground.

Some local businesses may even be willing to sponsor the program for a month or a year to offset the costs of your materials.

Keep in mind, you won’t need funding forever. Once you successfully start producing biodiesel you can sell it for profit.

Reach Out to Your Community

Whenever you start school recycling programs, it’s a good idea to reach out to community members.

You could advertise a monthly cooking oil “drive through.” On the specified day, for a set period of time, local residents can drop off their used cooking oil for you to use.

This helps residents get rid of their oil and helps you gather more used grease than you would otherwise.

You may also have interested parents or businesses that are interested in supporting recycling in schools. They may volunteer their time or supplies to help you implement your biodiesel program

Advertise your biodiesel program in your school’s newsletters, at assemblies and extra-curricular events where parents are invited.

Put posters up around the school. And don’t forget to send out an email to the parents and school staff.

Final Thoughts

There you have it! A complete guide on how to start a school biodiesel program.

Recycling in schools is so important. And turning leftover cafeteria grease into fuel is one of the best ways that you can help the planet.

Best of all, your student will get hands-on opportunities to learn chemistry and alternative fuel sources.

Before you go, check out these 4 surprising uses of biodiesel.

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