Public/Private Cooperatives for FATS OILS AND GREASE and food waste recovery

Fats, oils and grease (FOG) is typically managed using local ordinance controls to mandate service transactions between restaurants and unregulated haulers on which they depend for compliance. Utilities have little oversight or quality control at the service site, and none in transport or disposition, resulting in cost-cutting practices that provide poor recovery at restaurants and improper disposal. EPA estimates that only 30% of restaurants comply with local FOG ordinances, resulting in bypass of between 800 and 17,000 lbs of FOG per restaurant to U.S. sewers annually. For utilities pursuing resource recovery and FOG codigestion, uncontrolled disposition equals feedstock uncertainty.


The BlueBridge resource recovery cooperative model for FOG places the utility at the receiving end of the FOG management transaction with the hauler. As customer on behalf of the restaurant, the utility brokers and enforces service quality, pricing, and disposition practices in transaction with the hauler. Additionally, when resource recovery is among the utility’s goals, AD feedstock security is bundled into the restaurant’s agreement with the utility, and delivery bundled into the utility’s transaction with the hauler, eliminating the uncertainties of re-aquisition of FOG through tipping, and strengthening the economics of FOG AD projects.


For community restaurants, the sewer utility’s role as consumer advocate instead of regulator creates value and compels participation:

  • discounted bulk/wholesale pricing on FOG management services

  • service quality, enforced with haulers by the utility to the standards of local ordinances

  • reduced restaurant odors and plumbing backups

  • compliance assurance

  • peace-of-mind: the utility manages the process on their behalf, restaurateurs focus on their product -the dining experience

  • recognition / green marketing

The utility establishes greater control of service at restaurants, and total control throughout the supply chain, resulting in effective source control and measurable protection of sewer infrastructure:

  • better enforceability and accountability with haulers

  • control of transport & disposition beyond the restaurant property boundary

  • secure & reliable ownership and delivery of quality anaerobic digestion feedstock

Resource Recovery Cooperatives for FOG are easily integrated with cooperative programs for food scraps, providing total-organics-recovery solutions for community restaurants, and strengthening the bond between municipal governments and their small businesses.

BlueBridge believes that resource recovery cooperatives should be considered along with other strategies for management of FOG as a waste and for commercial organics recovery and anaerobic digestion, but it is the only structure that can achieve sustainability goals throughout the FOG recovery supply chain.

mandatory commercial organics recycling


The State of California, four New England states, and a number of local jurisdictions, including Austin, New York, Seattle, Portland and San Francisco, have passed phased commercial organics recycling mandates requiring increasing percentages of organic wastes, including restaurant food scraps, to be recovered over time. Typically, local jurisdictions are required to develop organics recycling programs that may include ordinances and enforcement programs to ensure that restaurants comply with more broad state mandates. Similar to how local utilities regulated restaurant FOG practices, these same municipal jurisdictions will now require restaurants to manage food waste by engaging with 3rd-party haulers.

BlueBridge believes that emerging innovations in liquid waste management through cooperative purchasing should be more broadly deployed by municipalities for organic solids in jurisdictions where commercial businesses have mandatory diversion rates. Cooperative resource recovery partnerships for food waste recovery bring a community’s small businesses into the success story of local circular economies while cutting costs, increasing service quality, and creating more sustainable businesses and communities.

Contact BlueBridge to learn more about the opportunity to explore cooperative program structures for compliance with state and local organics recycling compliance.