Man speaking a podium
Chris Herb, president and CEO of CEMA, and David Borselle, chef and owner of Little Oak Cafe. Credit: Christine Stuart photo

It starts with french fries, burgers and bacon and it ends up in the fuel tank that heats your home.

Starting Friday, July 1 all home heating oil must contain a 5% biodiesel mix. That mix will come from cooking oil sold by restaurants like Little Oak Cafe in Canton.

“The food we eat turns into the fuel that we use,” Chris Herb, president and CEO of the Connecticut Energy Marketers Association, said.

The legislation passed in 2021 will require that biodiesel mix in home heating oil to go up to 50% by 2035.

“It’s going to take an all fuel approach to meet the energy demands of the future,” Herb said.

oil truck
A heating oil truck that delivers biodiesel Credit: Christine Stuart photo

Herb said they are encouraging the state to embrace that approach and not focus solely on energy sources like wind or solar to reduce carbon emissions.

He said the reason they needed to law to increase the mix of biodiesel is because certain parts of the state were using less than other regions. He said the average right now is around 7%.

“This law will ensure that every home in Connecticut (will) be at a uniform blend level,” Herb said.

There’s nothing homeowners have to do. The biodiesel will be mixed in with their home heating oil before it’s delivered to their homes. No changes are needed to their heating systems to accommodate it.

He said over the past few years it’s typically traded under the price of oil, so it helps get to oil independence quicker than before.

“It increases our supply. It’s domestically produced right here in New Haven, Connecticut,” Herb said.

David Borselle, chef and owner of Little Oak Cafe, said they used to have to pay someone to take the oil away and now they are getting paid for it.

plated food on picnic table
The food that produces the oil that ends up in your home. Credit: Christine Stuart photo

“It’s not much but even if they weren’t paying me, I would still do it because it’s good for the environment, and I am comfortable knowing where it’s going,” he said.

Restaurants get about 20 to 30 cents per gallon and a majority of restaurants participate, according to Borselle.

“We turned the cost to do business into a profit center for restaurants,” Herb said.

He said at a time when the global oil supply is tight this biodiesel is adding to the supply and doing it at a less expensive cost than oil.