Beaufort County Schools signs on with biodiesel fundraising program

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By Maria Satira, Weekend Anchor – wnct.com

WASHINGTON, N.C. – Another school district in the East will soon get cash for used cooking oil.

Beaufort County Schools officially signed on with the Biodiesel 4 Schools program this month.

The fundraiser raises money for the school district by collecting cooking oil from local restaurants, then it’s turned into biodiesel and sold to businesses. School districts get a cut of the profit.

Pitt County was the pilot school for the program, and after seeing its success, Beaufort County wants in on it too.

“In some ways for us it’s like liquid gold for what it can bring in,” said Beaufort County superintendent Dr. Don Phipps. He hopes to put that gold towards technology in the classroom.

“My intent to use it would be to purchase laptop carts or additional computer devices as we look at the roll out of digital learning and the technology needs in our schools,” said Phipps.

The program is just getting started in Beaufort County and the Green Circle NC Biodiesel 4 Schools representative says the next few weeks are all about recruiting restaurants and businesses with cafeterias.

“The local budget for schools is getting smaller and smaller every year, and this is the easiest way for people to give back,” said program representative, Ken Weeks.

Parker’s Barbecue in Greenville has been a major supporter of the program for Pitt County Schools. Every week, its two locations are responsible for turning about 600 gallons of used cooking oil into profitable biodiesel.

“This is an easy way for restaurants to get on board and help Pitt County make up some of the deficit that’s taken place over the last few years,” said co-owner, Billy Parker.

Parker says this is a cause local restaurants in Beaufort County should get on board with as it helps kids in their communities.

“They provide all the equipment that’s needed and it’s just a matter of pouring your grease that you can’t use anymore from your cookers and fryers and pour them into their containers,” said Parker.

The biodiesel is then sold to companies to fuel trucks and buses. Participating school districts get about 25 cents per gallon. In the past two years, Pitt County Schools has raised more than $30,000 from Pitt County restaurants’ used cooking oil. Beaufort County is looking to see similar results.

“There is a potential we felt of 30 to 40 thousand dollars – for us that would be tremendous,” said Dr. Phipps.

Click here to visit the Beaufort County School’s website. Soon, a link will be posted to get involved with its Biodiesel 4 Schools program.

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