New study on restaurant recycling programs.

Recently the National Restaurant Association surveyed 500 restaurant owners and operators nationwide during March and April, 2011. Consumer findings are based on a nationally representative sample of 1,010 American adults surveyed March 10-13, 2011. The findings were not particularly surprising; three out of five restaurant patrons surveyed indicated that they preferred to eat at establishments that had recycling programs in place.

An article posted by Urban Mining can be found here.

Some highlights of the study included:

  • 65%  of restaurateurs currently have a recycling program in place; 13% participate in composting programs.
  • 74% of restaurateurs who recycle do so in the kitchen and office areas; 43% have a program in the dining room and other customer-facing areas.
  • Nearly three out of four (72%) restaurant operators use products made from recycled materials; the most common of these items were bags, paper products and food containers.
  • 60% of consumers say they prefer to visit a restaurant that recycles.
  • A strong majority of consumers (85%) say they sort recyclables in quickservice restaurants if receptacles are provided.
  • About half of consumers (51%) say they are willing to pay a little more for menu items at a restaurant that recycles.

Of course oftentimes what people say they will do (in regards to paying more) often differs to the reality of the decision made at the time of purchase, so some of these statements actually require further empirical research or qualification to ascertain the actual willingness to pay more and the actual difference in pricing that would be acceptable to the consumer.

In the area of used oil collection we find the majority of restaurants do seem to have relationships with oil collectors. Our efforts in this area of late have focused on determining how we can differentiate our services and provide greater value to those restaurants and collectors that do make the choice of using Promethean as their service provider or oil purchaser.

Make it a better place!


One step forward…two steps backwards on the trail to BQ-9000.

We have been working towards a BQ-9000 compliant program here for a long time. It seems that oftentimes the process follows a simple pattern of one step forward, two steps back. I call it the “Biodiesel Waltz”. Our last results came in on the 5th of May, and were well within ASTM D 6751 specification.

That said, we received our latest test results and the good news is that quality is consistent. Of course our costs are not.  Oil feedstock price is at an all time high…STILL.  Theft is growing as well.

I have been visiting plants in Mexico during the last month, and we have started a new consulting project as well.

Production is eeking along at a steady pace, although I have been feeling a little stretched as the workload is heavy. I have also been spending more time on speaking engagements, including a recent series at the California Center for Cooperative Development (, an amazing organization focused on helping cooperatives flourish.

We keep on recycling, making fuel, testing, processing, and trying to keep up with the paperwork.

The planets have aligned for the industry; credits are in place, RINS are available to most (not us yet….but we’re working on it), and there is oil out there, although expensive at this time.

Below I have included one of the beautiful illustrations produced during the recent cooperative symposium by Eris Weaver, a strategic planning facilitator and guru. It features a term I like to think I coined, “Coopetition”.

Make it a better place!