This article was originally published on Restaurant Business on August 2, 2022. Written by Reyna Estrada.
Filta Environmental Kitchen Solutions is giving cooking oil a second life.
The fryer management company removes cooking oil from kitchens once no longer usable and recycles it into biodiesel, a service it calls FiltaBio.
“Our entire goal is to make cooking oil last as long as it possibly can. One, it’s an expensive resource, but number two is the more cooking oil you buy, the more farming that has to be done to make that cooking oil, the more plastic has to be used to package that cooking oil. The more cardboard, the more labor, the more everything,” said Tom Dunn, CEO of Filta. “So when we come in and do our filtration, we can extend the life of the cooking oil to the point where they don’t have to buy as much.”
After the oil’s life can be extended no longer, FiltaBio comes in to remove and then reuse the oil.
“They can continue to use that resource until it gets to the end of its life and that’s where the next environmental piece kicks in, we then make sure that cooking oil has a new life. That cooking oil is then recycled into biodiesel, so it’s not thrown away, it’s not destroyed, it actually has a second life,” said Dunn.
Filta began in 1996 with an oil filtration service called FiltaFry that includes temperature calibration, cooking oil filtration and a thorough vacuuming of each fryer.
“If you think of oil of having a beginning of life, middle of life and end of life, we started with the middle. We started by creating a very high-end micro filtration cooking machine that we offer basically filtration as a service,” said Dunn.
The company also offers a service called FiltaDrain, where technicians foam drains with live probiotic solutions that consume the grease. “It’s like sending an army of little grease fighters down the drain to eat fats, oils, greases and sugars that can cause drain odors and smells and fly breeding grounds,” Dunn said.
In addition to these services, the company also provides foodservice operations with an environmental impact report. Dunn said the company’s mission is to make restaurants safer, cleaner and greener.
Filta currently services approximately 7,000 customers, including food operations at amusement parks. Dunn said that labor is one of the prominent challenges of the business, particularly finding enough reliable labor to keep up with demand.
“We are working on ways to provide service to as many commercial kitchens as we can,” he said. “This includes identifying new franchise owners as well as taking measures to improve our productivity at each stop.”
Dunn said he believes that many consumers demand sustainable processes, like those that Filta offers.
“It’s just good business,” he said. “People want to invest in companies that are responsible, because we only have one planet. At the end of the day, it is economically advantageous to be sustainable.”