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Restaurateur says ‘save’ the cooking oil

Wednesday 19 July 2023 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Features, Food, Go Local


Restaurateur says ‘save’ the cooking oil
Trader Jacks co-owner Chris Douglas. Phot: Al Williams/22062801

A long serving restaurateur is suggesting there is a market for tackling waste cooking oil in the Cooks.

Trader Jacks co-owner Chris Douglas has been in the business for decades and estimates thousands of litres of the product are dumped on Rarotonga each year.

Douglas contacted Cook Islands News after Toa chief executive Ed Herman decided to tackle waste motor oil a litre at a time through a business partnership.  

There are no domestic procedures, policies and legislations currently in place to manage waste oil in the Cook Islands.

Herman formed a partnership with Pacific Energy to transport waste oil from Rarotonga to Fiji where it will be refined and reused.

Douglas said something similar could be done with waste cooking oil here.

“They could do the same with cooking oil; I talked years ago to an oil company about doing it.”

At present Trader Jacks pays a company to take it away to landfill.

“In New Zealand there are companies that come and remove the oil.

They buy it at about $1 a kilo, it could be a good business here.”

Douglas said it is then refined and used again as lower grade oil.

“There could be a better way, if they are taking away motor oil, they could take away cooking oil. It has to go somewhere. “   

Herman’s proposal came about in 2019 when conversations between both parties got underway.

There was red tape to get through so they worked alongside the National Environment Service.

When asked about waste cooking oil, NES director Halatoa Fua said Section 9 of the Environment Act 2003 ensures that environment safe disposal of toxic chemicals and wastes does not leak into the environment through air, water and land.

The NES could facilitate a similar process to the exportation of waste oil.

“Food and beverage operators have procedures on safe disposal of any hazardous waste, as well as safe recycling of waste or products.

“There needs to be further consultations with these sectors on sustainable practices, as well as working with Infrastructure Cook Islands on the types of waste accepted at the Waste Management Facility.”  


Corey Numa on 20/07/2023