Tompkins County Recycling and Materials Management center.

ITHACA, NYThe Tompkins County Solid Waste Division is pleased to announce the opening of a new collection station at the Recycling & Solid Waste Center for fats, oils and grease (FOG) left over from prepared foods.

The FOG collection station is part of the newly redesigned food scraps drop spot at the facility at 160 Commercial Avenue in Ithaca. This station will allow residents easy access to properly dispose of their household cooking oils, animal fats and grease in an environmentally safe manner while diverting this liquid waste from the local water supply.

Solid Waste Division Manager Barbara Eckstrom said, “The new FOG station supports our ongoing efforts to develop and implement a materials management strategy for Tompkins County, and divert as much material from landfills as possible.”

The FOG will be processed by Buffalo Biodiesel and recycled into biodiesel; a renewable, biodegradable fuel that is produced domestically.  Biodiesel is a cleaner-burning, sustainable replacement for petroleum diesel fuel.

Cornell University’s Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) assisted the Solid Waste Division on the initiative to divert fats, oils and cooking grease from entering and blocking sewer lines.

“This is another step in the right direction for sustainability in Tompkins County,” said ESW Biofuels team leader Emma Burke. “Integrating biofuels from FOG will not only help to reduce our carbon footprint, but will also save the local wastewater systems from costly sewer pipe repairs.”

The Solid Waste Division will provide residents with a specially-designed funnel at no cost to conveniently empty their liquid FOG into a reusable container of their choice, and a label for that container. The container can then be brought to the collection station, poured into the waiting stainless steel basin and taken home to refill.

Funnels and labels are available at the Solid Waste Division office at 122 Commercial Avenue.

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.