Rowan County expands recycling program, from cooking oil to paint

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Jessie Burchette
Got some used cooking oil you want to get rid of?
Doesn’t matter whether it smells like french fries or fish.
The county’s ever-expanding recycling program is now taking cooking oil at its Julian Road Convenience Site.
Cooking oil is only one of a list of new items and materials residents can take to the recycling center.
The county has struck a deal with Woodleaf Bio-Diesel to take the cooking oil.
In the past couple of years, more people and businesses have contacted the county about taking used cooking oil.
During the holiday season, many residents inquired about a way to discard oil they used for frying the holiday turkey.
County Recycling Coordinator Lori Swaim said the staff had tried to find somebody to take it, but the cost was too high.
Woodleaf Bio-Diesel agreed to take the oil at no cost and convert the oil to bio-diesel to power vehicles.
In addition to cooking oil, the recycling program has expanded to take more types of plastic bottles, clothing, textiles and toys.
Swaim said the program previously took milk jugs and water and detergent bottles. Now, the center will accept all plastic bottles.
While the county doesn’t want to compete with thrift shops, Swaim said the increasing cost of gasoline has caused many people to look for one place to drop off materials.
“We saw a lot of (usable) stuff going into the garbage,” Swaim said.
The county staff has arranged to give clothing, other textiles and toys to a company that ships the materials overseas to Third World countries.
The Julian Road site also:
– Now accepts used oil filters.
– Offers a paint swap, where people can take cans of paint, whether full or partially empty. Residents also can take paint home free of charge.
Swaim said the paint swap has really taken off. “We knew we had a demand,” she said. “We had no idea we would move this much paint through.”
And the recycling effort is going green, offering a workshop teaching businesses to switch to more environmentally-friendly materials for cleaning and practices.
The workshop is scheduled for Aug. 7 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Rowan County Agricultural Center on Old Concord Road.
For more information or to pre-register, contact Swaim at