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At Some Restaurants, Ordering Fried Food Helps the Environment Hundreds of establishments have begun recycling used cooking oil to be refined into biodiesel, a low-carbon fuel that is drastically better for the environment than standard diesel.

By Madeline Garfinkle

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Angel Garcia | Getty Images
Used cooking oil can be recycled into biodiesel.

At some restaurants, eating fried food actually helps the environment.

In Miami, craft brewery Cerveceria La Tropical is among the hundreds of establishments that have adopted the practice of collecting used cooking oil to be recycled and turned into biodiesel, the Miami Herald reported.

La Tropical works with the restaurant maintenance franchise Filta, which specializes in environmental solutions for commercial kitchens. Filta comes to La Tropical each week to collect used cooking oil from the restaurant. The Filta technicians either filter the oil so it can be reused in the restaurant or take the oil to be repurposed and turned into biodiesel.

Related: Rice and Mushrooms, Anyone? Samsung Will Offer Low-Carbon Meals to Its Employees.

"When we filter the oil, we extend its life so that the restaurants and all these food services will use less cooking oil," Cristian Nechuta, who runs the Miami-Dade County franchise of Filta, told the outlet. "Once the oil can no longer be filtered anymore, we take it to a recycling facility."

While Filta charges vendors for its service, the recycled use of cooking oil allows restaurants to use it for about 50% longer than average, Nechuta told the outlet.

Founded in 1996 in the U.K., Filta came to the U.S. in 2002 and now has 130 locations across the country and 356 internationally. The company offers environmentally-friendly solutions for cleaning, recycling, and repurposing materials in kitchens in the food and hospitality industry.

Related: This Startup Is Using Plants to Capture Carbon Emissions

Nechuta's Filta location doesn't just work with restaurants, he told The Herald. He also collects cooking oil from local hospitals, colleges, and sports stadiums around the Miami-Dade area. Nechuta added that last year, Filta collected 23,000 gallons of cooking oil to be turned into biodiesel, preventing about 230 tons of carbon emissions.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, biodiesel releases roughly a quarter of carbon emissions than standard diesel.

And it's not just local restaurants looking to make an impact. Last year, fast food giant Chick-fil-A announced it would be partnering with food manufacturing company, Darling Ingredients to convert its used cooking oil into renewable diesel.

Restaurant Technologies, which provides restaurant services and solutions for top brands like McDonald's and KFC, has its own cooking oil-to-biodiesel service. In 2022, the company says recycled about 290 million pounds of used cooking oil, reducing about 67 million pounds of carbon emissions.

Madeline Garfinkle

News Writer

Madeline Garfinkle is a News Writer at She is a graduate from Syracuse University, and received an MFA from Columbia University. 

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