This might not be a topic for dinner conversation, but have you ever wondered what happens to all that grease that is used to prepare your food. Where does it go? What happens to it? One company has the answer. Darling International Inc., headquartered in Irving, Texas, has been handling this and other waste materials associated with the food industry since 1882, when it collaborated with meatpacker Swift & Co. in Chicago to dispose of the fat, bones and other animal byproducts generated at the Swift plant. From that beginning, Darling has expanded its services to include the recycling of used fryer grease and the servicing of grease traps. It is currently one of the largest independent recyclers of animal byproducts in the United States.
Darling considers itself the “original recycler.” The majority of the materials processed by Darling are recycled and used in other products. Additionally, Darling provides a valuable service to the restaurants you dine at.
“We are a service company providing a much-needed service to restaurants that have to get rid of their wastes,” says Bill Borrelli, vice president of sales and oil collection. Darling estimates that it collects and processes in excess of 518 million pounds of used grease annually. If not for companies like Darling, that material would be disposed of and not recycled for beneficial reuse.
Darling operates 44 facilities across the country that process material otherwise considered wastes into usable products. The volumes of material that Darling and other similar companies process are staggering. It is reported that approximately 45 billlion (yes, billion with a “b”) pounds of material are recycled annually into usable products.
For example, tallow (animal fat) is an ingredient in the manufacture of high-quality soaps. Fatty acids from the processing of animal byproducts go into a wide range of products used in everyday life. These include abrasives, asphalt tile, lubricants caulking compounds, cleaners, paints, plastics, candles and cosmetics.
Darling has been an industry leader in the innovation of new products designed to make the handling of these waste products safer and easier for the restaurant. The Cleanstar 2000 is an automated unit designed to safely handle the waste cooking oils generated in restaurant kitchens. Prior to the introduction of Cleanstar, restaurant employees had to carry the waste cooking oil out of the restaurant in buckets and dump it into a bulk container in the back. The procedure was not only hazardous to the employee because of slips and burn accidents; it also was a messy operation. With Cleanstar, waste cooking oil is now handled in a specially designed cart that connects directly to the Cleanstar unit for the transfer of the waste cooking oil. No more buckets, and no more accidents.
Another service necessary to successful food-service operations offered by Darling to the restaurant industry is the maintenance of the grease trap. The grease trap is that piece of equipment that pretreats the water used in the kitchen for cleanup. Its primary function is to remove grease and oils before they are allowed to enter the sewer system. To provide this service, Darling has created TORVAC as a separate division dedicated to the servicing of grease traps. Cities and sewer districts often mandate the installation and maintenance of grease traps to protect the sewer system from line blockages.
The service that TORVAC provides includes the maintenance of grease traps by removing grease, oils and solids from the trap to ensure the proper operation of the equipment. Trained personnel remove this material with vacuum trucks, and the material is then either processed for disposal at a Darling owned and operated facility, or is taken to a facility permitted and licensed to handle this type of material. In addition to removing the material from the trap, the sides of the trap and the interior walls are scraped cleaned and visually inspected as part of each service call. TORVAC also offers 24-hour emergency service should a restaurant need help between regularly scheduled service visits.
In some cases, restaurants are required to demonstrate to regulatory officials that they are maintaining their grease traps in accordance with specific requirements outlined in an ordinance or regulation. TORVAC supplies a manifest or work order to its clients which shows when the trap was serviced and where the material was taken for processing. Additionally, the manifest will indicate if any problems with the operation of the trap were observed. TORVAC’s goal is to provide a quality, consistent, and cost-effective service on a national level.
Darling’s goal is to continue to be an industry leader in providing restaurants with more efficient, safe and economical ways to handle their wastes. The company feels that its combination of services affords the restaurants a one-stop shop for handling waste grease, servicing grease traps and handling scrap fat and bone. It allows food-service operations such as restaurants and supermarkets to deal with a nationally recognized company, staffed by trained professionals dedicated to providing a quality service that is in compliance with applicable rules and regulations. For further information visit www.darlingii.com.