Restaurants and residents in Santa Monica have been given an alternative choice to dispose of the leftover oil and grease from their kitchens.

The City of Santa Monica has begun a new effort to collect fats, oil and grease free of charge from city restaurants to turn them into biofuel, representatives of the Solid Waste Management Division announced. The initiative will help the city reduce greenhouse gas emissions, combat climate change and curb the growing number of clogged sewers plaguing residents and businesses, city officials said.

Not only can restaurants deposit their leftover oil and grease in containers located in the refuse collection areas of downtown parking Structures 2 through 6, residents can take part in the effort by depositing their used cooking oil at the Hazardous Waste Facility, 2500 Michigan Ave. from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Information on the Hazardous Waste Facility, (310) 458-2213 or (310) 458-8255.

City officials note that biofuel, a domestic and renewable fuel derived from natural oils, can help reduce air pollution and the dependence on fossil fuels without the toxic side effects of other clean air efforts.

Restaurants outside of downtown can request a container for their location by contacting Wes Thompson, recycling coordinator, at (310) 458-8546, or wes.thompson@smgov.net/.

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