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SFPUC Concludes Successful SFGreasecycle Program
Innovative grease recycling program helped reduce 49 million pounds of CO2 emissions over its 12-year history
Posted Date: 3/6/2019 11:00 AM
San Francisco, CA—The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is concluding its SFGreasecycle program, with the successful initiative having diverted fats, oils and grease from more than 1,100 establishments in the City, helping to reduce 49 million pounds of CO2 emissions during its 12-year lifespan.
“SFGreasecycle was an innovative program that reduced harmful emissions, improved the efficiency of our sewer system and offered important assistance to our local restaurants,” said SFPUC General Manager Harlan L. Kelly, Jr. “After more than a decade of service, we are proud to celebrate the success of this initiative and turn over the reins to our partners in the private sector.”
SFGreasecycle was developed in 2007 as a pro-business solution to managing fats, oils and grease – commonly known as FOG - in the City’s sewer system.  Prior to the implementation of SFGreasecycle, FOG-related maintenance cost the SFPUC an average of $3.5 million per year. With the largest controllable source of FOG being restaurants, SFGreasecycle was established to provide a free used cooking oil collection service to San Francisco restaurants. The oil collected by SFGreasecycle was then used as a local source of sustainable biofuel, helping diesel fleets offset their carbon emissions from fossil fuels.
At the time of SFGreasecycle’s launch, few private commercial haulers were available to pick up used cooking oil, leading to illegal or unsafe practices, such as dumping grease down the drain or stockpiling it in alleys or basements.
Over the past decade, approved local and state legislation has mandated the use and registration of grease haulers and oil renderers, prompting the increase of private operators in the industry. There are now several commercial grease haulers providing free waste collection services to the food service industry across California. With private companies now capable of hauling and converting the used cooking oils in a safe, sustainable manner, there is no longer the need for a public program such as SFGreasecycle.
Over the course of the 12-year program, more than 3.3 million gallons of used cooking oil was collected from San Francisco restaurants and residential households, generating approximately $5.4 million in revenue for the SFPUC, which was subsequently reinvested into San Francisco’s sewer department operations. The production of biodiesel from the cooking oil reduced 49 million pounds of CO2 emissions—the equivalent of removing nearly 5,000 cars from local streets and roads.
SFGreasecycle staff will not be collecting used cooking oil from restaurants starting on April 1. A list of grease haulers that provide free cooking oil pickup services in San Francisco can be found here. The residential program will continue to support the existing used cooking oil drop off locations across San Francisco. The drop off locations can be found on the SFGreasecycle site.  
About the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is a department of the City and County of San Francisco. It delivers drinking water to 2.7 million people in the San Francisco Bay Area, collects and treats wastewater for the City and County of San Francisco, and generates clean power for municipal buildings, residents, and businesses. The SFPUC’s mission is to provide customers with high quality, efficient and reliable water, power, and sewer services in a manner that values environmental and community interests and sustains the resources entrusted to our care. Learn more at