• 61°

Shaw gets 1st biodiesel batch from city

Tuesday, the city of Andalusia made its first delivery of biodiesel fuel to Shaw Industries Plant 65, the largest employer in the city.

The city began converting used cooking oil into biodiesel fuel in April, recycling oil that would otherwise clog up the city’s sewer system. Tuesday, the city delivered its first 250-gallon batch of processed biodiesel fuel to Shaw, which can use the fuel in its boilers.

“This saves us from having to buy natural gas or other fuel,” said Cary Baker, director of operations at Plant 65. “We can then take that money we saved on fuel and credit it to our freight account, which helps us compete with other plants within the company.”

The city collects the used fuel from restaurants and citizens, and then converts it into biodiesel at its processing station, which is located at the public works department. Shaw also has its own biodiesel processing station, and collects used oil from its employees and some area restaurants. To date, Shaw has produced 4,350 gallons of biodiesel at Plant 65.

Mayor Earl Johnson said the city is happy to partner with Shaw in the biodiesel program.

“It’s really a win-win for the city,” he said. “Every gallon of oil that we keep out of the sewer system is one less gallon of oil that we’d eventually have to remove from a clogged-up sewer. And, we’re also getting the opportunity to help our largest employer. We’re happy to do anything we can to give them an edge.”

The city’s program is almost entirely financed by a $78,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Business Enterprise grant.

One-gallon plastic containers can be obtained at three locations in Andalusia — the adult activity center, Winn-Dixie and Cost Plus. After being filled, the containers can be brought back to one of three locations and exchanged for an empty one. Also, citizens can call city hall and request a container, which can be filled and left curbside along with conventional recycling bags and Hobo trash containers.