‘Awareness of need to recycle cooking oil low’

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Workers at a factory in Kuala Baram transfer the used cooking oil from storage to a container for transportation to oil processing companies in Peninsular Malaysia.

MIRI: The level of awareness of the need to recycle used cooking oil is still very low here.

A survey by Sekitar Bumi Hijau Sdn Bhd, the sole authorised cooking oil collector, has found that while more than half of
hotels and fast food chain restaurants here understand the real effect of disposing of used cooking oil improperly, merely 20 per cent are aware of a better way to dispose of the cooking oil waste.

“For a start, we would usually approach the eatery shop owner, explaining to them the importance of recycling used oil and the way it will be done after collection. Afterwards, we would suggest by providing a plastic container with a 17-litre volume at food outlets and restaurants,” said Sekitar Bumi Hijau Sdn Bhd supervisor Lee Chiu Hui.

“While there are those who are more than happy to contribute the used cooing oil, others merely reject our offer and have suggested that they have their own way of disposing of their own used cooking oil.”

She pointed out that this could lead to several issues.

“It is possible that these premises could be disposing of the oil through their own unauthorised contractor or contributing their used oil to other unauthorised oil collectors.”

Another possibility is the operators could be reusing the cooking oil, which could be a health hazard.

Lee said some restaurant owners have gone to the extent of donating their used cooking oil to the needy or hawkers at night markets.

Besides Miri, the company also serves Sibu, Bintulu, Bintangor, Kanowit, Sarikei, Subis, Kapit
and Batu Niah.

“After collecting the oil from clients, which usually happens once or twice a week, the products will then be transferred and stored at the storage (facility), located at Kuala Baram before being transported to a processing company in the peninsula,” explained Lee, adding that the company pays 30 sen for every litre collected.

The company collected over 100 tonnes of used cooking oil in 2011, 192.82 tonnes in 2012 and more than 200 tonnes last year.

Established in 2011, Sekitar Bumi Hijau Sdn Bhd is registered under the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB).

It buys, collects, stores and sells used or waste cooking oil to companies in Peninsular Malaysia, which process it into soap for bathing and washing, candles, industrial lubricants or biodiesel.