Obama administration touts San Francisco grease recycling program

San Francisco is still first in grease.

The City’s vaunted grease recycling program drew attention from President Barack Obama’s administration Tuesday, with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy witnessing firsthand how spent cooking oil is turned into engine-worthy biofuel.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s Greasecycle program collects barrels of used oil from about 800 restaurants weekly, free of charge.

The oil is turned into biofuel to power Muni buses rather than poured down the drain, where it creates sewer-clogging grease balls that used to cost The City $3.5 million a year to clean out.

And no other city in America has anything like it, said McCarthy, who watched as a pair of SFPUC workers took away a barrel of grease from Johnny Foley’s restaurant near Union Square.

“This is innovation, not regulation,” said McCarthy, who added that the EPA has no plans to bring grease recycling to Washington, D.C., or other cities but is “hoping other cities see how this works.”

“This is already incentivized,” she said. “It’s saving them [The City and restaurants] money.”

On hand to show off The City’s “one-of-a-kind” grease recycling were some familiar faces: Jared Blumenthal, the former Department of the Environment director who now heads up the local EPA office; and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who was mayor when the program began in 2007.

Newsom is also still a participant in the program; his Balboa Café in the Marina district has “very clean” grease, an SFPUC worker said.

Restaurants can sign up to have their grease hauled away at sfwater.org, where drop-off locations for grease from home kitchens are also posted.Bay Area Newsgrease recyclingGreasecycleU.S. Environmental Protection Agency

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Azikiwee Anderson of Rize Up Bakery pulls and twists sourdough into shape on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
San Francisco’s Rize Up Bakery serving up sourdough with a call to action

Azikiwee Anderson wakes up most mornings just before dawn to start cooking… Continue reading

Although The City has been shut down and largely empty, people have enjoyed gathering in places such as Dolores Park. <ins>(Al Saracevic/The Examiner)</ins>
Come back to San Francisco: The City needs you now

Time to get out of the house, people. The City’s been lonely… Continue reading

A surveillance camera outside Macy’s at Union Square on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Is the tide turning against surveillance cameras in SF?

Crime-fighting camera networks are springing up in commercial areas all around San… Continue reading

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott speaks alongside Mayor London Breed at a news conference about 2019 crime statistics at SFPD headquarters on Jan. 21, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
What the media gets wrong about crime in San Francisco

By Lincoln Mitchell Special to The Examiner Seemingly every day now, you… Continue reading

Vice President Kamala Harris is under fire for her comments in Guatemala earlier this week. (Examiner file photo.)
SF immigration advocates slam Kamala Harris’ ‘betrayal’ to her past

Kamala Harris’ comments earlier this week discouraging Central Americans from traveling to… Continue reading

Most Read