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grease recycling

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New recycling bins to better contain restaurant grease, may help to prevent Whistler black bears from getting an easy, quick fill of liquid fat. The new system would ensure restaurants a supply of new four-foot high rectangular bins, slightly larger than the 45 gallon drums currently supplied. The bins have sloped lids and a screen that would ensure that even if the lid was left open, no animals could get in. They are equipped with a drip catch system that would prevent grease from spilling outside of the container. At pick-up, the bins would be emptied into a truck and then submerged into hot water, melting the solidified grease. The grease is then exported to be reused. The bonus is that there is no cost to implement the new system. As Brian Barnett, manager of environmental services for the municipality and a member of the Black Bear Task Force explains, the expense is recovered through the value of the grease. "Grease is a highly valued product in terms of recycling," says Barnett. "It’s exported and used to make things like lipstick." Lower Mainland company West Coast Reduction currently supplies 45 gallon drums to restaurants. The restaurants put the grease inside the drums, which are then picked up and taken to the landfill. They are stored at the landfill site — uncovered — until there are enough drums to warrant a once a month trip to the city for recycling. The problem with the current system is that the drums do not have lids and grease spills out, attracting bears and other animals. The bins will be replacing the old drums over the next couple of months, but Barnett says he’s not sure if every restaurant will get them. Since they are slightly larger then the old ones, some small restaurants may not be able to store them. "There are still a lot of details that need to be discussed," said Barnett. Paul Kindree, Carney’s Waste Systems operation manager says, "We will be helping to implement a better development system for our customers." Carney’s will continue working with West Coast Reduction to help solve the problem of garbage disposal in Whistler.

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