Feed the Barrel and Turn Cooking Oil Into Compost and Biofuel

by 
Stephanie Bruneau, Weavers Way Programs Coordinator
Hani White, right, is the co-Founder of Feed the Barrel.

Congratulations! You deep-fried your Thanksgiving turkey without burning down your house! Now you are digesting your meal, contemplating tomorrow’s turkey soup and wondering what to do with five gallons of used peanut oil.

First, whatever you do, DON’T pour it down the drain! Oil in the drain, even small amounts, can build up inside your pipes and cause big problems. Bring it to the Co-op instead! Weavers Way is partnering with Feed the Barrel, the city’s first residential cooking-oil recycling program. 

Feed the Barrel was started by mothers in South Philadelphia’s Indonesian community. Indonesian cooking involves a lot of oil, and Indonesian families were accustomed to pouring used oil down the drain. They were also having to repeatedly call the plumber for drain problems. So members of the Indonesian Diaspora Network of Greater Philadelphia contacted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for advice and help. The EPA connected the group with Eden Green Energy, a commercial oil-recycling company that works with Philadelphia restaurants, and the city’s first residential cooking-oil recycling program was born. 

Now, thanks to Feed the Barrel, home cooks can take their used oil to more than 13 dropoff locations in the Philadelphia area, including Weavers Way Chestnut Hill and Weavers Way Ambler. The used oil goes into a 55-gallon drum at each site, donated and collected by Eden Green Energy. The collected oil is turned into compost and biofuel.

By feeding the barrels, you not only help keep the sewers clear, you also help reduce waste in landfills and waterways, and you give a waste product another life.

So when you’re ready to get rid of that turkey-frying oil (and some chefs say cooking oil is better the second time around), bring it to Weavers Way and help Feed the Barrel! 

For more information on Feed the Barrel, visit www.feedthebarrel.org. For questions about recycling your oil at Weavers Way, contact sbruneau@weaversway.coop.