Case Study Source: The Joint U.S.-Brazil Initiative on Urban Sustainability, part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The Reuse of Vegetable Oils in the State of Rio de Janeiro Program, or Prove (for the Portuguese-language acronym), was created in 2008 by the Secretary of State for the Environment (SEA) in order to stimulate the collection of used cooking oil and its reuse in the production of soap and alternative sources of energy such as biodiesel. Currently, most vegetable oil is poured into drains, polluting the water system and impairing the pipes of buildings and sewage treatment networks. In regions where there is no collection system, the oil goes directly into rivers and lakes, significantly increasing pollution and environmental degradation. This practice is detrimental to the population, to sanitation utilities, and to governments.
Prove encourages the creation of cooperatives for selective collection of solid and liquid waste (in this case, the cooking oil) and helps generate jobs and income for organized collectors. The program also involves dialogue with the private-sector, which in some cases uses oil collected as fuel in their establishments, while others produce soap.
In 2011, Prove helped collect 5.5 million liters of oil through 45 affiliated cooperatives established in several municipalities of Rio de Janeiro. In Duque de Caxias, just two cooperatives contributed about 250,000 liters per month.
SEA works with the State Environmental Institute (INEA) to implement this program, working to avoid water pollution and environmental degradation from the dumping of used cooking oil. Specifically, these institutions encourage the collection of used cooking oil for reuse in the production of soap and of alternative energy sources such as biodiesel through support for the creation of cooperatives.
Environmental, Social, and Economic Benefits
Through Prove, the State intends to decrease carbon emissions, improve water quality, decrease pressure on natural resources, and create income-generating jobs for low-income workers through cooperatives.
Rio de Janeiro State Secretariat of Environment
Phone: +55 (21) 2598-9242 or +55 (21) 2223-2664