In Turkish cities with BAYTOMs (Waste Vegetable Oil Collection Machines), residents can bring their used cooking oil outside and pour it into a machine that will measure its fat content and dispense a small gift: money, bus tokens, or coupons, for example. Licensed waste management companies come regularly to collect the oil and transport it to a plant where it can be recycled into biodiesel fuel.
A country-wide campaign to boost recycling
BAYTOMs, which were designed by a high school chemistry teacher in the Turkish province of Çorum, are hitting the streets of Turkey as municipalities install them in an effort to improve waste oil disposal in the country.
A joint project between Turkey’s Environment and Urbanism Ministry, the Turkish Marine Protection Association, and the country’s Vegetable Oil Manufacturers’ Association, BAYTOMs are being distributed all over the country after a pilot project in Çorum.
Some cities in France and England will also use the machines, reports Turkish daily Today’s Zaman.
BAYTOMs can distinguish between waste oil and other substances, and separate them into different compartments. The machines only dispense gifts equal in worth to the amount of recyclable oil poured into them, encouraging users to carefully conserve their waste oil and recycle it frequently.
Producing fuel, protecting Turkey’s marine ecosystems
Of the 350,000 tons of waste vegetable oil that Turkey produces each year, just 10 percent is collected for recycling. When it comes to biodiesel production capacity, however, Turkey has the second highest in the world, after Germany.
Most of it currently uses agricultural feedstock, but biodiesel production from waste oil is more environmentally friendly, according to Turkish Marine Protection Association General Director M.A. Özkural. When using waste oil, moreover, 65 to 80 percent of the liquid can be turned into biodiesel, which results in 50 percent less CO2 emissions than regular petroleum.
In the meantime, keeping waste oil from being dumped down the drain has a range of other benefits. Oils congeal on the insides of sewer pipes, causing blockages and reducing pipe flow capacity, which leads to extra municipal infrastructure expenses.
When it reaches open water, oil spreads thinly over the surface and prevents oxygenation, suffocating many types of marine life. The situation allows some creatures, like jellyfish, to flourish and undergo population booms that make it even more difficult for marine ecosystems to stay diverse. Just one liter of waste oil is enough to pollute 1 million liters of water. Domestic waste is responsible for 25 percent of water pollution in Turkey.
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