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Holiday Cooking Bad for the Environment?

by Jim Roberts, Public Information-Education Programs Specialist

It’s that time of year again, the holidays! Family and friends and rich holiday foods like turkey, gravy, buttery homemade desserts and the potential of sanitary sewage overflows? Who wants this problem during the holidays?

It’s true; the holiday season comes with an increased possibility of pollution from costly sewer backups and overflows. During the holidays, when more people are cooking higher-fat-content foods, deep-fat-frying turkeys and enjoying large family meals, the amount of fats, oils and grease, or “FOG,” entering into the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority (ECUA) sewer system increases, as does the potential for problems.

Now is the right time to make use of the ECUA Cooking Oil and Grease Disposal Program and help keep the sewer lines and your home’s plumbing clear, unclogged and on a “fat-free” diet! Stop by one of the sites below and pick up or drop off a free container for your used cooking oil and grease.

Residential Cooking Oil and Grease Disposal Sites…

- Keep Pensacola Beautiful

- 9 West Blount Street

- Ever’man Co-Op

- 315 West Garden Street

- ECUA at Ellison Industrial Park

- 9255 Sturdevant Street

- ECUA Sanitation Department

- 3050 Godwin Lane

- ECUA Bayou Marcus Water Reclamation Facility

- 3050 Fayal Drive

- Pensacola Beach

- 53 Via de Luna Drive

- Aboard NAS Corry Station (Military and Base Personnel ONLY)

- 4120 Pless Avenue (Corry Village Housing) NAS Corry Station

- Perdido Key

- 12950 Gulf Beach Highway

- Cantonment Grocery Advantage

- 736 Highway 29 North

- ECUA Warrington

- 609 S. Old Corry Field Road

- Beulah Fire Station

- 6400 West Nine Mile Road

- Apple Market

- 1021 Scenic Highway

- UF/IFAS Escambia County Extension Office

- 3740 Stefani Road, Cantonment, FL 32533

- Perdido Landfill

- 13009 Beulah Road, Cantonment, FL 32533

- Recycling Contamination

Placing non-accepted items in your recycling bin is called “contamination” and causes problems during the sorting of recyclables. It also degrades the value of other recyclables, as well as affects the ability of the item to be processed into a new product. It is important to make sure that only recyclable items are placed in the recycling bin.

By using your bins correctly, you can help to ensure that the materials are processed efficiently which in turn saves our resources and keeps the cost of processing low. ECUA takes the issue of contamination very seriously and strives to reduce its occurrence.

What are the most common contaminants?

The most common contaminants are plastic bags, garbage bags, yard waste, food scraps and clothing/linens.

• Plastic bags and garbage bags along with other plastic wrap should never be placed in the recycling bin. These items often become entangled in and damage the equipment we use to sort the recyclables. Instead, they should be reused, returned to a supermarket, or disposed of in your sanitation collection container.

• Food scraps and clothing/linens that cannot be reused belong in your sanitation collection container.

• It is also important that you give containers and bottles a quick rinse before placing them in the recycling bin. Remember to keep the lids on the containers.

• Yard waste should be placed in a compostable paper yard waste bag designed for collection of materials such as leaves, grass, pine straw etc. Plastic bags don’t decompose and cannot be processed into environmentally friendly compost or mulch. Also, don’t discard garden hoses in your recycling bin.

Please note: If you use compostable bags for your yard waste, then ECUA will pick it up at the curb with any other yard’s waste materials. The compostable bag should not be placed in your recyclables cart.

What you can do…

Label containers – At home or in the workplace, place labels or a list near your recycling container as a reminder of what can be recycled. This list can be especially helpful for other family members and help you notice repeated contamination issues.

Rinse and wipe clean – Quickly rinse or wipe away contaminants from recyclables such as plastic food containers. This rinsing helps to improve the quality of your recycling stream.

For additional information, visit the ECUA website at live-green/recycling or call Customer Service 850.476.0480

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