Bad Grease is Good Fuel! (2011)
Students began the project in September, at the beginning of the school year, researching the negative effects of county residents improperly disposing their used cooking oil down their drains. After many hours of research and classroom collaboration, the students set out to educate the community on how it affects not only our homes and sewage treatment facilities, but how it affects wildlife, the local river environment and the river systems all the way from the local Susquehanna River to the Chesepeake Watershed. After months of working on the project, the students realized that something so negative for the environment could be so positive in many ways (read to the end to find out why biofuels are an excellent alternative for individuals, communities and environements!)
The students created an educational pamphlet, a website and even a comic book for younger students to teach them how to properly dispose of their used cooking oil. Their efforts took them to the County Executive's office where the local press picked up their story. From there the head of an adjacent county's farm bureau heard the story and has taken the project to the next level!
Our efforts have now turned from educating the community to setting up collection stations around the city where residents can dump their used cooking oil and from there, the oil will be picked up and RECYCLED into BIODIESEL!!! This is not only going to help save our city money (they spend over $240,000 a year maintaining sewage systems/treatment facilities due to improper grease disposal) but will help save the local environment in many ways!
First, something that can have such a negative impact on the environment, upsetting river ecosystems, is going to be collected, recycled and used as fuel thus further lessening dependency on foreign oils and alternative fuel resources that are potentially harmful to the environment (such as hydro-fracking). Biofuels are also much 'easier' on the environment, they are locally sustainable, biodegradable and produce 85% fewer carbon emissions! And not only is the fuel less than half the cost of a gallon of gas, NO modifications are necessary to vehicles to be able to use the fuel
We are proud to say that on April 18th, 2012, the Binghamton City Council will be voting on a resolution in support of the students' efforts! A local supermarket chain is working with us to begin a pilot program that will begin in approximately 2 weeks where grease collection barrels will be set up for residents to use. GoVo Biofuels (www.govobiofuels.com) will be collecting the grease and transporting it to Smater Fuels (www.smarterfuels.com) where they will do the recycling. The City of Binghamton will be the VERY FIRST CITY in all of New York State to have such a program and I am very proud of this group of 6th grade students for making it happen!
We are now educating the community on all the wonderful reasons why using biofuels is good choice for their vehicles, the community and both the local and global environments.
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