Greasing the wheels in DUMBO

The Brooklyn Paper
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Keeping DUMBO green is going to be a lot easier, thanks to an innovative program to transform used restaurant cooking oil into biodiesel fuel.

The DUMBO Improvement District is the latest organization to join the Doe Fund — the charitable organization that helps the homeless — in a program that will recycle frying grease from neighborhood restaurants.

The use of biodiesel as an alternative fuel source is taking off — and for a nation addicted to foreign oil and french fries, it might be the perfect solution to recycle and cut down on greenhouse gas emissions.

In January, Tri-State Biodiesel, a company that makes biodiesel fuel, got funding from the city to build a plant in Red Hook. The fuel — which is biodegradable and non-toxic — produces 78 percent less carbon-dioxide emissions than diesel.

“I’ve had a lot of favorable response from the neighborhood restaurants,” said Bill Vitiello, the program coordinator for the DUMBO Improvement District. “Just about all the restaurant owners down here are interested.”

The service would be offered free — and tax deductible — to participating restaurants, which currently have to pay to get their cooking oil hauled away. (You didn’t think they poured it down the drain, did you?)

Pete Thristino, the “Pete” of the Pete’s Downtown restaurant at the foot of Old Fulton Street opposite the Fulton Ferry landing, said the grease-monkeying “sounds like a good thing.”

“I’d definitely be interested in participating,” he added.

The Doe Fund said it would formally unveil the program later this month.

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