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The Green Project now accepts used cooking oil and grease in a partnership with Operation REACH 

The Green Project now accepts used cooking oil and grease in a partnership with Operation REACH, which will recycle the waste into fuel. Operation REACH's Gulf South Youth Biodiesel Project (GYBP) green job training program will chemically convert the oil and grease into biodiesel. GYBP hires youth impacted by the BP oil disaster. Production manager Joaquin Nunez says program participants are "learning about environmental sustainability and the benefits of alternative fuels."

  Beth Stelson, the Green Project's volunteer, outreach and marketing coordinator, says Operation REACH approached the Green Project during its turkey grease collection drive last fall.

  Nearly all cooking oil and grease can be recycled into biodiesel, a cleaner-burning alternative to fossil fuels. Once received, the used oil and grease are filtered twice, and lye and ethanol are added, Nunez says. After mixing for a few hours, biodiesel and glycerin are produced. The biodiesel is sold, and the GYBP is storing the glycerin until it can recycle it as well.

  The ReUse District, a nonprofit collaboration of 24 reuse organizations and businesses, will reach out to residents and businesses in the 7th Ward, Bywater, Marigny, St. Claude and St. Roch neighborhoods to collect oil and grease. "The restaurants are going to be producing the most grease and oil," says Stelson, who also represents the ReUse District.

  Cooking oil and grease can be dropped off in a sealable container to a staff member at the Green Project's warehouse (2831 Marais St.) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Donors will receive a tax deduction for their donations. Visit www.thegreenproject.org or call 945-0240 for more information. — Marta Jewson

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