A local Colorado company called Aspen Oil has created a pretty cool business model that not only benefits its owners but also positively impacts the planet - one drop at a time.

The Englewood-based company collects and recycles used cooking oil from restaurants all around the state.

The idea was born in 2007. Fuel prices were steadily rising and two Colorado natives were searching for an alternative to gasoline so that they could continue to enjoy the mountain sports they loved so much.

After experimenting with different ways to make biofuel, the two friends designed a system in which they could fully run a truck using discarded pure vegetable oil.

From there, the duo partnered with five restaurants that agreed to let them come collect their cooking oil waste. As years went by, many more local establishments opted to join the free collection service along the way, and those who haven't are encouraged to sign up. Different size containers are available, ranging from 55-gallon cans to 300-gallon dumpsters, depending on how much oil is discarded by a business.

More than ten years later, Aspen Oil has a team that services restaurants and bars all the way from Pueblo, Colorado, up to Cheyenne, Wyoming, picking up truckfuls of used cooking oil. The company is thriving, gathering more than 4.5 million pounds of cooking oil waste annually.

Once the oil is collected from the various establishments, it's brought back to the processing facility where food debris is taken out and further filtration takes place. Then, the oil waste is used for a variety of products from biofuel to high-energy feed supplements.

The environmentally-friendly business practices of Aspen Oil are helping to create a more sustainable and greener Colorado.

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