ORLANDO – There’s not much the city of Orlando can do for all the local residents who ate – and ate – and ate some more during the Thanksgiving Day holiday and are now feeling the pangs of guilt that often follow – except, perhaps, to refer them to a list of local gyms and fitness instructors.
However, the city is extending a hand to the residents who did all some of the cooking – while at the same time trying to put a spotlight on local efforts to make Orlando the most environmentally-friendly city in the nation. That include a key Green goal: recycling.
On Tuesday, Nov. 27, the city is hosting a free used cooking oil recycling event at City Hall to collect the oil and grease from this year’s Thanksgiving meals.
It will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the City Hall Rotunda at 400 S. Orange Ave. in downtown Orlando, and anyone who parks in the City Commons garage will get their ticket validated if they show up for this event.
Residents can bring a wide variety of oils to be recycled, including grease left over from cooking animal fats – such as bacon grease – and vegetable, corn, olive, peanut, sesame, soybean and sunflower oil.
Lard will also be accepted.
The recycling program coordinators are asking that the cooking oil be free of water, soap suds and food scraps, and transported to City Hall in a non-breakable, leak-proof container with a tight lid.
“By recycling used cooking oil over the Thanksgiving holiday, Orlando residents are helping prevent thousands of gallons of used cooking oil from ending up in local landfills and clogging sewer systems,” Cassandra Anne Lafser, public information officer for the City of Orlando and the Mayor’s Office, noted in her release announcing the event.
Lafser added that this is not a one-time program, and that Orlando residents can make an impact in their community and help the environment by recycling used cooking oil all year long. A list of the locations where this is available can be found by visiting www.cityoforlando.net/grease or by calling 407-246-2213.
This is all part of the ongoing Green Works Orlando effort, an initiative that Mayor Buddy Dyer hopes will make Orlando a trailblazer when it comes to environmentally conscious urban planning.
The goals cover quite a few areas.
In the past few years, the city has reduced its energy consumption by 20 percent as a city government, and provided energy retrofits to more than 1,200 local homes so homeowners can save money on their electric bills. Orlando had added more than 19 miles of sidewalks and bike paths, making downtown easier to walk around in, and converted public landscaping to plants and grass that require less irrigation.
The city also has an interactive forum hosted on www.GreenWorksOrlando.com, powered by the company Mind Mixer, that provides questions that residents can answer, as a way to engage residents on green issues.
Recycling also plays a major role in the green efforts. Starting this month, the city is also launching a new single-cart recycling program. All residential recycling customers will be receiving a new 95-gallon recycling cart, allowing them to put all of their recyclables into one giant teal and burgundy cart. This change will allow the city to double the number of people who recycle in Orlando and the amount of material that gets recycled.
“It will also save us more than $125,000 per year,” Mayor Dyer noted in his State of the Downtown address in October. The program is expected to be fully implemented citywide by Christmas.
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