Whilst out today enjoying the fabulous weather here in London and strolling through a local farmer’s market noting the extraordinarily high prices, I came across a stall with little to show except a few small jars of deep yellow liquid. Perfume maybe. I then noticed the sign advertising ‘biodiesel’. Strange name for a perfume I thought!
Intrigued, I wandered over to enquire further. Turns out a small local company has taken the entrepreneurial approach of selling biodiesel fuel to customers as they shop for their organic food treats. You buy your biodiesel at 90p a litre at the stall, in the virtual sense, then fill up at their mobile pump in the carpark! They have regular custom apparently.
This provides an interesting angle to a cottage industry which has been around for quite some time now, although with prices at the forecourt being sky high it is increasingly becoming a more serious business.
The Guardian reports companies making biodiesel “reactors” report booming sales and demand for cheaper diesel is outstripping anything they can produce. “Our business has doubled in size in just the last six months,” said David Taylor of Ecotec Resources, the Lancashire company which sells the machines and which also makes 100,000 litres a year of recycled fuel.
People in the industry suggest there are 35 companies refining recycled oil commercially and perhaps 20,000 individuals making private arrangements to collect and process oil from local restaurants, chip shops and food manufacturers.
Since the law was relaxed to allow people to make 2,500 litres a year for their own use, most are working legally, but as the price of fuel rises inexorably, so criminal elements are moving in.
“There are wars going on in London to get the oil,” said Tom Lasica, who runs Pure Fuels, London’s largest refiner of vegetable oil. “Spanish and German companies are moving in to buy up British used vegetable oil. People are stealing it from each other and selling it abroad. We heard that one fish and chip shop in Southend was broken into just to steal the waste oil.”
Don’t buy from the big boys; join the revolution. It’s environmentally good for you. 🙂