KQED Food Blog: Bay Area Bites: Donuts to Diesel: SFGreasecycle
Bay Area Bites: culinary rants & raves from bay area foodies and professionals
Previous Posts
Nog
Monterey Market: Always Worth A Visit!
Cook by the Book: Let's Cook Japanese!
Bliss at Golden Gate Bakery
Vocal Local: Jen Maiser
Kitchen Vogue: A Taste of Luxury
What Else You Can Do with Leftovers
gobble gobble: what to do with your thanksgiving l...
Meet Amy Kaneko
The Cost of the Average American Thanksgiving
 
 
BAB Guidelines

'Bay Area Bites' is part of KQED's Blog Authors Collaborative. Blog contributors and commentators are solely responsible for their content. If you're interested in writing or contributing to a blog on kqed.org, email us with your idea.
 
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Donuts to Diesel: SFGreasecycle


As someone who keeps containers of bacon fat, duck fat, chicken fat, lard and butter along with rank-and-file bottles of olive oil, sesame oil, chile oil, grape seed oil and good ol' peanut oil always handy by her stove, I was delighted to learn a new term this week: FOG.

No, not the lovely mist that sweeps over our city from the sea.

Fats
Oils
Grease

Unfortunately, in addition to carrying flavor and adding texture, these staples of the kitchen can be as bad for our sewer system as our bodies. Multiply thousands of restaurants by dozens of gallons of FOG and very quickly, the mess builds up.

A program launched this past month by San Francisco's Public Utilities Commission, SFGreasecycle, will attempt to alleviate the headache of FOG disposal while linking to Gavin Newsom's mandate to use 20% biodiesel in all city vehicles by the end of the year. There are still a few weeks for us to reach our goal.

Around the world, the dumping of FOG into sewer systems has become a serious problem. New landfill regulations prohibiting the burying of liquid fats and municipal directives on hazardous waste, animal by-products and waste oils make FOG disposal increasingly complex and expensive for restaurants and catering companies (not to mention the much larger amounts from abattoirs and food processing plants). An entire industry has risen up to separate, collect, store, treat, transport, buy, sell and dispose of FOG. The next time you wonder how pet food gets its calories and flavors, well, just remember the deliciousness of french fries and potato chips.

SFGreasecycle hopes, through education and incentives (like free pick-up) to reduce the amount of FOG flowing into the city's pipes. Reusing it as fuel for its fleet of municipal vehicles is another excellent benefit. Will it cut down on emissions? Well...that depends....


Grease Goddesses' hatchback.

Bumper stickers aside, the heated debate about whether the use of biodiesel results in a positive impact or a negative one overall confuses most of us. There's an abundance of mind-numbing technical reports, polarized rhetoric and big-business greenwashing. Much of it comes down to what you measure and how. Another point of argument occurs between those who believe any minimization of petroleum helps slow our current self-destructive spiral and those who, reminding us that gas motors still equal emissions, believe bikes and solar panels are the better answer.

To help you sort out the issues and how they relate to your cooking and eating and driving pleasures, visit these websites:

• Learn more about the SFGreasecycle program, including a participating restaurant list, FOG facts, before and after photos of fat-clogged sewers, and lots of links to sites on climate change, biodiesel facts and supporting organizations. The sound effects of the homepage alone are worth a click. My favorite, though, is the FOG map, showing hotspots in San Francisco where food-service establishments caused the most "multiple grease blockages" over the last two years. (But please, enough with the un-readable, un-typeable web-o-matic compound names!)

• From the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality comes a useful list of ways to reduce FOG in your own home or apartment.

• Scott Gregory, who combines his work from atmospheric science and engineering, offers an admirable summary of diesel history, climate impact and one of the EPA's studies on biodiesel emissions. His website offers my two favorite sentences in all my reading on the issue: 1) Inventor Rudolf Diesel's warning, circa 1911, that "The use of vegetable oils for engine fuels may seem insignificant today. But such oils may become in course of time as important as petroleum and the coal tar products of the present time," and 2) Gregory's own pithy conclusion, "There are good reasons to use biodiesel, but emissions improvement is not the most compelling argument. I prefer the 'thumb your nose' at the oil industry argument."

• The environmental journalists at Seattle-based Grist gathered three experts to offer their views on the biodiesel controversy: Ana Unruh Cohen, director of environmental policy at the Center for American Progress; David Morris of the Institute for Local Reliance; and Number One Biodiesel Skeptic, David Pimentel, professor emeritus of entomology at Cornell University.

• Here's the recent story in SFGate describing the Public Utilities Commission's launch of the program. In addition to General Manager Susan Leal's colorful descriptions of the problem of fats in the sewer system ("It's sort of like a heart attack in our sewers," Leal said. "It's like a blocked artery.") there's blood-pressure-raising reading in the comments section that illustrates much of the confusion and polarization around biodiesel.

• The crew of the Unifried Bus have put together a friendly, informative website about how they outfitted their engines for oil. In addition to photos that clearly convey the "Julia Butterfly-Burning Man" aesthetic of their approach, there's a plain language comparison of Biodiesel Emissions compared to Other Fuels Fuel Types that takes into consideration the entire fuel cycle, or a "well-to-wheel" analysis. They also offer tips for other biodiesel drivers from their own experiences.

• For a view from the industry itself, here is an explanation from the official site of the National Biodiesel Board. Their membership includes state, national and international feedstock and feedstock processor organizations, biodiesel suppliers, fuel marketers and distributors, and technology providers.

• And, finally, for the hard-core, here is the 118-page Comprehensive Analysis of Biodiesel Impacts on Exhaust Emissions (Draft Technical Report) that was conducted at Harvard with Ford Motors as part of the EPA's Biodiesel Emissions Analysis Program.


And you thought your arteries were clogged.

Labels: , , , ,

 
 

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Locate CP Restaurants:
Check, Please! Google Map
 
KQED Food Sites
Check, Please! Bay Area
Jacques Pépin Celebrates!
Jacques Pépin:
Fast Food My Way
Jacques Pépin:
The Apprentice
Jacques Pépin:
The Complete Pépin
KQED Wine Club
KQED.org Cooking
Weir Cooking in the City
 
Tasty Food Sites
CHOW
Chowhound SF
Crushpad
CUESA
CulinaryCorps
Eat Local Challenge
Edible San Francisco
Epicurious
eGullet.org
Food Network
Food Talk
Group Recipes
Hungry Magazine
KTEH Food
Leite's Culinaria
Locavores
Mighty Foods
NPR: Food
Om Organics
Serious Eats
SFGate: Food
SFGate: Wine
SF Station: Restaurants
Slow Food SF
Top Chef
Wikimedia Commons: Food & Drink
Yahoo! Food
Yelp: Reviews
 
Tangy Food Blogs
101 Cookbooks
A Full Belly
Accidental Hedonist
agoodfoodblog
An Obsession with Food
Anna's Cool Finds
Becks & Posh
Between Meals
Blogsoop
Bunny Foot
Butter Pig
Cellar Rat
Chez Pim
Chocolate & Zucchini
Confessions of a
Restaurant Whore
Cooking For Engineers
Cooking with Amy
Cucina Testa Rossa
Culinary Muse
Denise's Kitchen
Digesty-SF
Eater SF
Eggbeater
Extramsg.com
Feed & Supply
Food Blog S'cool
Food Musings
Food Porn Watch
Gastronomie
Hedonia
I'm Mad and I Eat
In Praise of Sardines
Jatbar
Knife's Edge
Life Begins at 30
Love and Cooking
MeatHenge
Mental Masala
Moveable Feast
Nosheteria
Organic Day
Passionate Eater
San Francisco Gourmet
SF City Eats
Simply Recipes
Spicetart
The Amateur Gourmet
Tablehopper
The Ethicurean
The Food Section
The Grub Report
The Petite Pig
The Wine Makers Wife
Vin Divine
Vinography
VirgoBlue
Wandering Spoon
Well Fed Network
Word Eater
World on a Plate
Yummy Chow
 
 
   
Search BAB

Eye Candy: Food Photos
BAB on flickr.com
Join Flickr for free and share your photos with the Bay Area Bites and Beyond group pool.
 
Food Books
 
The Moosewood Cookbook
by Mollie Katzen
 
Baking: From My Home to Yours
by Dorie Greenspan
 
Grand Livre de Cuisine: Alain Ducasse's Desserts and Pastries
by Alain Ducasse, Frederic Robertmison
 
The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking and Entertaining
by Cheryl Alters Jamison, Bill Jamison
 
Tasty: Get Great Food on the Table Every Day
by Roy Finamore
 
Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way
by Lorna Sass
 
The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa
by Marcus Samuelsson
 
Michael Mina: The Cookbook
by Michael Mina, Photographer: Karl Petzktle
 
What to Eat
by Marion Nestle
 
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
by Michael Pollan
 
Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate
by John Scharffenberger, Robert Steinberg
 
Romancing the Vine: Life, Love, and Transformation in the Vineyards of Barolo
by Alan Tardi
 
What to Drink with What You Eat: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Spirits, Coffee, Tea -- Even Water -- Based on Expert Advice from America's Best Sommeliers
by Andrew Dornenburg, Karen Page, Michael Sofronski
 
The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-be Southerners
by Matt Lee, Ted Lee
 
Bread Matters: The State of Modern Bread and a Definitive Guide to Baking Your Own
by Andrew Whitley
 
Coloring the Seasons: A Cook's Guide
by Allegra McEvedy
 
All-new Complete Cooking Light Cookbook
by Anne C. Cain
 
Modern Garde Manger
by Robert B. Garlough
 
The Spice and Herb Bible
by Ian Hemphill, Kate Hemphill
 
The Improvisational Cook
by Sally Schneider
 
Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children
by Ann Cooper, Lisa M. Holmes
 
Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia
by James Oseland
 
My Life in France
by Julia Child, Alex Prud'Homme
 
A Passion for Ice Cream: 95 Recipes for Fabulous Desserts
by Emily Luchett, Sheri Giblin (photographer)
 
Au Pied De Cochon -- The Album
by Martin Picard
 
Memories of Philippine Kitchens
by Amy Besa, Romy Dorotan
 
Simple Chinese Cooking
by Kylie Kwong
 
 
An Invitation to Indian Cooking
by Madhur Jaffrey
 
Hungry Planet
by Peter Menzel, Faith D'Aluisio
 
Sunday Suppers at Lucques : Seasonal Recipes from Market to Table
by Suzanne Goin, Teri Gelber
 
Simple Soirees: Seasonal Menus for Sensational Dinner Parties
by Peggy Knickerbocker, Christopher Hirsheimer (Photographer)
 
The Cook's Book
by Jill Norman
 
Molto Italiano : 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home
by Mario Batali
 
Nobu Now
by Nobuyuki Matsuhisa
 
Cheese : A Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Best
by Max Mccalman, David Gibbons
 
Bones : Recipes, History, and Lore
by Jennifer McLagan
 
Whiskey : The Definitive World Guide
by Michael Jackson
 
The New American Cooking
by Joan Nathan
 
ChocolateChocolate
by Lisa Yockelson
 
Easy Entertaining: Everything You Need to Know About Having Parties at Home
by Darina Allen
 
Cooking at De Gustibus: Celebrating 25 Years of Culinary Innovation
by Arlene Feltman Sailhac
 
Dough: Simple Contemporary Breads
by Richard Bertinet
 
Chocolate Obsession: Confections and Treats to Create and Savor
by Michael Recchiuti, Fran Gage, Maren Caruso
 
The Food Substitutions Bible: More Than 5,000 Substitutions for Ingredients, Equipment And Techniques
by David Joachim
 
Recipes: A Collection for the Modern Cook
by Susan Spungen
 
Spices of Life: Simple and Delicious Recipes for Great Health
by Nina Simonds
 
Mangoes & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent
by Jeffrey Alford, Naomi Duguid
 
Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light
by Mort Rosenblum
 
Vegetable Love: A Book for Cooks
by Barbara Kafka, Christopher Styler
 
A History of Wine in America: From Prohibition to the Present
by Thomas Pinney
 
Fonda San Miguel: Thirty Years Of Food And Art
by Tom Gilliland, Miguel Ravago, Virginia B. Wood
 
Matzoh Ball Gumbo: Culinary Tales of the Jewish South
by Marcie Cohen Ferris
 
Washoku: Recipes From The Japanese Home Kitchen
by Elizabeth Andoh, Leigh Beisch
 
 
Weir Cooking in the City: More than 125 Recipes and Inspiring Ideas for Relaxed Entertaining
by Joanne Weir
 
Rick Stein's Complete Seafood
by Rick Stein
 
The Great Scandinavian Baking Book
by Beatrice A. Ojakangas
 
Serena, Food & Stories: Feeding Friends Every Hour of the Day
by Serena Bass
 
John Ash: Cooking One on One: Private Lessons in Simple, Contemporary Food from a Master Teacher
by John Ash
 
The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook: Eating Well for Better Health
by Donald Hensrud, M.D., Jennifer Nelson, R.D. & Mayo Clinic Staff
 
Foods of the Americas: Native Recipes and Traditions
by Fernando and Marlene Divina
 
The Provence Cookbook
by Patricia Wells
 
Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World
by Gil Marks
 
Last Chance to Eat: The Fate of Taste in a Fast Food World
by Gina Mallet
 
Bouchon
by Thomas Keller
 
A Blessing of Bread: The Many Rich Traditions of Jewish Bread Baking Around the World
by Maggie Glezer
 
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
by Molly Stevens
 
On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen
by Harold McGee
 
Entertaining: Inspired Menus For Cooking with Family and Friends
by George Dolese
 
The Breath of a Wok: Unlocking the Spirit of Chinese Wok Cooking Through Recipes and Lore
by Grace Young, Alan Richardson
 
Cooking New American: How to Cook the Food You Love to Eat
by Fine Cooking Magazine
 
The Japanese Kitchen: A Book of Essential Ingredients with 200 Authentic Recipes
by Kimiko Barber
 
Arthur Schwartz's New York City Food: An Opinionated History and More Than 100 Legendary Recipes
by Arthur Schwartz
 
Poet of the Appetites: The Lives and Loves of M.F.K. Fisher
by Joan Reardon
 
Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes
by Jeffrey Hamelman
 
Everyday Dining with Wine
by Andrea Immer
 
 
Copyright © 2005-2008 KQED. All rights reserved.