Used Cooking Oil

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UCO

All over the world, cooking oil is one the most essential components in food preparation. Cooking oil is used in substantial quantity for food frying either in home, restaurants or in Food Industry. During the frying process, oil undergoes many physical and chemical changes. These changes after prolonged cooking make the oil unfit for human consumption. It may cause serious health hazards, such as potential gastrointestinal disorders and even mutagenesis in the human body. Physio-chemical changes that occur in cooking oil mainly include, change in color, odor, viscosity, calories count. It also contains particulate matter and increased amount of total polar solids, polymeric molecules as it undergoes chemical reactions; so it is changed to Used Cooking Oil (UCO) which is defined as oils and fats that have been used for cooking or frying in the food processing industry, restaurants, fast foods and at a consumer level, in household; UCO can originate from both vegetable and animal fats and oils.

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UCO causes some serious environmental problems due to its slow degradation including bad odor. The researches was revealed that one liter of oil poured into natural waters may pollute 500,000 liters of water. Mainly it increases the organic load on water bodies and also forms a thin layer over water that reduces required dissolved oxygen concentration for underwater living creatures. UCO disposed incorrectly in to the kitchen or restaurants sinks can solidify and hence block the sewer pipes. Further degradation of UCO in pipes may also cause corrosion of metal and concrete elements. Thus removal of UCO from sewer streams at sewage treatment plant adds extra cost to it. Therefore, UCO or grease can be collected before it discharges into the sewer, which is more efficient for governments in treating effluents and be used as feedstock of biodiesel production process which is the eco-friendly fuel.
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Commercial UCO has been actively collected in many European countries for the past 30 years, initially to serve the needs of the animal feed market. However, an EU-wide ban in 2002 on using UCO as animal feed in the form of the Animal By-Products Regulations, in response to the need to prevent the spread of exotic diseases such as foot and mouth disease and transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, led to UCO collectors having to identify new customers for their service. Around the same time, an expansion in the biofuel industry, which led to an increased demand for feedstock, provided the required new market. One of the GWM services is providing operational solution to manage UCO which includes of collection, process and final disposal. Currently UCO management is ongoing in some countries; once UCOs are collected and stored, they have been delivered to partner companies to comply bio diesel production operation after pretreatment process.

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