Richard Younge and Todd Williams are helping to save the environment 1.25 gallons at a time.
As principals with Curbside Recycling, the pair has created an efficient way of keeping cooking grease out of DeKalb County sewer systems and watersheds.
Curbside began a program in March that allows residents to collect their cooking grease and set it out for pickup once a month. A one-time registration fee of $10 is required and residents are provided with a plastic bucket with a locking lid.
The company has approximately 300 customers, primarily in DeKalb and Fulton counties, and is pursuing business in Clayton County and parts of Forsyth County.
“I watched the dotcom explosion and decided I didn’t want to miss the next wave,” said Williams, who has an MBA from Clark Atlanta University in accounting and an interest in science. “When green energy began to take off I figured this was a way to get into it. Biodiesel was an exciting part of it.”
Younge and Williams met two years ago at the South DeKalb Business Incubator, where Younge was the director. Younge, who was retired before joining Williams at Curbside, also served as director of the Atlanta Minority Business Development Center from 1997-2003.
“I was looking for something to do in the green revolution,” Younge said. “We have a mutual friend who told me that Todd was making biodiesel fuel and I pursued it.”
Curbside is recycling the cooking grease into biodiesel, which it uses in its company vehicles, Williams said. Curbside is not selling biodiesel commercially, but that is something it would like to do in the future, he said. It also is in the process of making soap from glycerin produced from the biodiesel, but it is not yet being sold commercially.
“We want to get up to the level where we can produce enough biodiesel to mix with petroleum diesel to run a fleet of school buses,” Younge said.
In addition to four partners and a group of employees who work on commission signing up residents for the recycling program, the company also works with a chemist and an engineer.
The company is working with schools to spread the word about recycling and biodiesel possibilities. Curbside is a collaborator at the Center for Alternative Renewable Energy at Clark Atlanta and recently helped students at the DeKalb Academy of Technology and Environment learn about how soap is made from glycerin.
Another way Curbside is getting the word out about its grease recycling program is through its “Trash for Cash” program. Williams said the company organizes recycling drives and asks residents to take $10 off what they are paid for their recyclables to register for the grease recycling program.
Williams also was scheduled to meet with Clarkston mayor Howard Tygrett recently about how Curbside could partner with the city.
“We want to educate people how this will help them in their homes and on their water bills,” Younge said.