Recycling used cooking oil for environmental and educational impact

AuthorDirectorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (European Commission)
© Tiganokinisi, 2011
Tiganokinisi logo on a lorry
Recycling used cooking oil for
environmental and educational impact
Problem addressed
Municipal waste is one of Europe’s major sustainability
challenges. In 2017, only 46.3% of municipal waste in the
EU was recycled (material recycling and composting). Cooking
oil used domestically is one of the major waste streams that
is inadequately managed. This issue is particularly salient
in Cyprus, which has one of the highest levels of municipal
waste generated per person in the EU: more than 2 000
tonnes of used cooking oil is wasted every year in the country.
Innovative solution
Tiganokinisi (loosely meaning ‘frying pan movement’ in
Greek) is an environmental education programme that
transforms used cooking oil into a renewable energy
source. This programme has been developed by the
Cypriot small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) Isotech
and is run by the NGO Akti Project and Research Centre,
in partnership with the Pedagogic Institute of the Cypriot
Ministry of Education and Culture. This partnership
ensures the commitment of schools and has allowed
the programme to gain high-prof‌ile political visibility and
cross-party support.
The programme is based on an innovative circular
bioeconomy model, with schools acting as collection points
for used cooking oil. The Akti Project and Research Centre
sells the used oil to companies, which then transform it
into biodiesel. Prof‌its go back to the schools to be invested
in environmental education and the promotion of green
technological innovation.
Municipalities, central governments, enterprises and the
wider public all play an active part in the programme.
Enterprises, for example, can give their unused cooking
oil to local schools as part of their corporate social
responsibility strategy. In this way, Tiganokinisi goes
beyond the classroom, raising awareness in the wider
community of an urgent environmental concern.

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