by By Tom Isler | September 01, 2009

0909SCGB ecotruckIt might sound improbable, but a number of restaurants and hotels in Mas­sachusetts are teaming up to turn used vegetable oil into biodiesel fuel as part of a commitment to environmental sustainability.

In Boston, four eco-minded properties -- the 426-room Seaport Hotel and Seaport World Trade Center, the 212-room The Lenox, the 208-room Comfort Inn & Suites Boston/Logan International Airport and the 174-room Ramada Inn Boston -- all capture used vegetable oil and hand it over to Wachusett Bio-Mass, a local refinery of biodiesel fuel, which produces just half of the carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide emissions as regular diesel, according to company owner Kyle Zelley.

The Seaport alone collects about 80,000 gallons of uncontaminated used oil annually, which yields roughly the same number of gallons of biodiesel fuel. The Seaport then buys back the fuel, which Zelley sells below the going rate for diesel, and uses it to run a recently purchased laundry truck.

Zelley says he gets as much oil from restaurants and hotels as he can handle. "Here's a resource sitting on our doorstep," he notes.