GP: From the frying pan into the tank - Graz - Austria

In Graz, used cooking oil is collected and processed to produce biodiesel. Several awareness campaigns have improved the collection of used oil.


Austrian cooking involves a lot of deep frying oil. The used frying oil causes problems if it is disposed into the local sewage system. As part of a general recycling initiative, a collection scheme for used cooking oil was established in Graz in the mid 1990´s. The collected oil is sent to a plant where it is processed to produce biodiesel. Besides solving the disposal problem, this also reduces the emissions of CO2. However, the recycling rate has generally been very poor.

The objective within Trendsetter was to double the volume of oil collected from households and to investigate how awareness campaigns can increase the collection of cooking oil as well as interest in public transport. Three campaigns were carried out:

* Information leaflets and visits to restaurants in Graz which did not participate in the cooking oil collection before.
* Distribution of leaflets about oil recycling opportunities on public buses, where riders could also pick up the actual containers used to collect the used oil. The same was done in some taxis. The taxi drivers have been offered education about the environment in general and about recycling cooking oil in particular.
* Targeted campaign aimed at 2,000 residents living in selected block buildings using leaflets distributed shortly before the collection bus visited their neighbourhood. This also included information about public transport and free tickets, and about car sharing. Some of the households were selected for telephone marketing, and 200 were offered a personal consultation.
* A special information bus was designed. The bus, staffed with personnel trained in mobility consulting, was placed at crowded sites and at different events.

Both the amount of collected oil and the knowledge about the collecting system has increased, even though the volume from households did not double as aimed. Still, in 2003, 180 tonnes of used cooking oil were collected from restaurants and 80 tonnes from private households. When converted this gives enough biodiesel to run 26 buses.

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The above project is part of the 'CIVITAS - Trendsetter' initiative

TRENDSETTER's objectives are to ameliorate urban air quality and noise levels, and congestion while supporting exceptional mobility and urban quality of life. It will help other cities to see how they can curb unsustainable traffic growth by using advanced mobility management schemes.

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