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How One Entrepreneur Turned Restaurant Waste into a Business

This story appears in the December 2012 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Danger is not Charles Anderson's middle name. That became clear one night behind a catfish-fry house in Mount Home, Ark., when the eatery's owner pulled a gun on him. "He was going to get me for stealing his oil," says Anderson, founder of Golden Fuel Systems, which makes straight vegetable oil (SVO) conversion kits for diesel vehicles.

Anderson had spotted a bin full of used oil as he drove past the restaurant in his '94 Ford truck. Rather than ask for permission to pump the waste into his gas tank, he just pulled over and started fueling up. A few minutes later, while staring down the barrel of a gun, he had some explaining to do. Apologies convinced the owner to hold his fire. And after describing his truck's grease-powered fuel system, Anderson not only got permission to haul away vegetable oil whenever he was in town--he also scored a free dinner.

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