This morning the environment committee visited Uptown Oil, a small business dedicated to the fight for clean air in the capital.
Based in a railway arch, they supply cooking oil to London's restaurants then recover the used oil which would normally be thrown away or even poured down the drain. This is then filtered and put through a series of chemical separations to produce a usable fuel - biodiesel.
The recovered fuel is sold, mostly to black cab drivers who usually know a good deal when they see it. Not only is it a good example of reuse, but the fuel actually burns cleaner producing fewer of the particulates that dirty our windows and irritate our lungs. A black cab running on biodiesel can pass its emission test without the need for expensive exhaust modifications.
They estimate that the city's restaurants produce enough waste oil to fuel all London's black cabs and the bus fleet too, simultaneously cutting down carbon dioxide production and air pollution. They also employ ten people which is not to be sniffed at in these challenging times.