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[GreenYes] restaurant oil and grease

The Long Beach Water Department has produced a brochure for restaurant owners about BMPs for keeping fats, oils, and grease out of the sewers.  Unfortunately, one of their recommendations is that restaurants use disposable paper products instead of washable dishware.  I would like to recommend a change to their brochure, but wonder if this issue of "waste water vs. solid waste" has been addressed somewhere else.  It seems that most agencies are either waste water or solid waste, and very few deal with both.  I tried contacting the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County (who do handle both solid waste and waste water) and the gentleman with whom I spoke didn't seem to understand why recommending disposables would be a problem.  His attitude seemed to be that since there was landfill space, better to send stuff to the landfill than put it into the sewer.  The gentleman e-mailed me factsheets that the Sanitation Districts send out, and they go even further with disposables.  The Sanitation Districts recommend the use of paper towels so that grease doesn't get into the sewers from washing machine wastewater!  It doesn't require much imagination to take this to its logical conclusion -- single-use everything (clothing, equipment, cars, buildings...), throw it all away.  Come to think of it, that's not a far stretch for what we already have :-(.

My instinct is to recommend that the Water Dept. just  remove any reference to disposables.  It seems to me that following the other oil and grease BMPs would keep grease out of the sewer without adding to the solid waste stream.  Have other agencies addressed restaurant oil/grease while also incorporating an understanding of solid waste reduction?  I would like to be able to put my recommendation(s) in terms to which the Water Department will be receptive.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Sharon Gates
Recycling Specialist
City of Long Beach, California
562/570-4694

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