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City launches greasy campaign

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The city is cracking down on yellow grease and illegal biofuel pick-ups.

The city’s Environmental Department (DEP) said in a statement Thursday it is joining other departments to enhance regulation of yellow grease disposal.

The substance accumulates in restaurant water used to wash dishes and equipment. It then becomes responsible for over 60 percent of sewer back-ups in the city, the DEP’s statement said.

The city links the problem to improper disposal, which it says is out of hand due to poor drainage interceptors as well as unlicensed “hauling” or transportation of the grease by the biodiesel trade.

“There is a market for yellow grease,” said Chris Gilbride, the Communications Director for DEP, “and it could be refined easily into biodiesel.” He said, “That’s why there’s a market for it.”

A New York Times article earlier this year said that due to rising demand for biofuel, “fryer oil now trades on a booming commodities market.”

Currently, there are 29 licensed haulers in the city, the statement said.

The city will step up inspections at key sites, in a campaign connecting the DEP, the NYC Business Integrity Commission and the Mayor’s office. It has also created an educational video about yellow grease.

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