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City Utilities Partners with Electric Works in Grease Co-Op as Part of Mayor Henry’s Climate Action Plan

For immediate release: October 31, 2023

Fort Wayne, Ind. – Mayor Tom Henry, representatives from Electric Works, restauranteurs from the Union Street Market and City Utilities’ staff members came together today to champion the collective goal of Sustaining Fort Wayne, the City of Fort Wayne’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan.

Mayor Henry announced Sustaining Fort Wayne in April. The initiative focuses on climate mitigation, adaptation, and resiliency to protect public health, maintain quality of life, and support job creation and economic development.

Electric Works is one of a growing number of establishments to join the Grease Co-Op, a City Utilities program to remove the greasy byproducts of food preparation and dispose of them in an environmentally sound way. The fats, oils and grease harvested by the Co-Op are then transformed into energy-efficient fuel to power the City’s Water Pollution Control Plant and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, completing the circle of sustainability.

“Part of the philosophy of Electric Works since its inception has been sustainability. We modernized and refurbished a historic landmark, making it more environmentally friendly in our efforts to reinvigorate the campus,” said Katy Silliman, Senior Experience Director for Electric Works and Union Street Market. “Our Union Street Market’s participation in the Grease Co-op is another step in our commitment to sustainability.”

“This initiative demonstrates what we can achieve when we work together for the common good of our community. We’re proud of our local restaurants’ commitment to a greener Fort Wayne,” said Mayor Henry. “We’re turning challenges into opportunities and making our City more resilient and competitive for the future.”

The environmentally sound disposal of grease is a major issue for those in the food industry. The Grease Co-Op establishes a regular maintenance program with restaurants to manage their collection systems that gather fats, oils and grease. A monthly fee covers all aspects of collecting the grease, along with cleaning and maintaining the restaurants’ grease interceptors. The Co-Op ensures the process is environmentally friendly and keeps the clog-inducing waste out of pipes where it can cause blockages and back-ups.

“Nearly every week, a restaurant somewhere in our country has a sewer back-up issue caused by grease build-up, even closing some restaurants temporarily,” said Jodi Leamon, Grease Co-Op Program Manager. “Juggling the countless ingredients to make for the perfect dining experience doesn’t have to include monitoring the grease interceptor, not when the affordable Grease Co-Op can remove the offenders. The best part is it is a tangible demonstration of their commitment to becoming an eco-friendly restaurant.”

For Fort Wayne, the program offers further sustainability benefits by using the grease from the interceptor to create a renewable energy source at the wastewater treatment plant, further reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Co-Op keeps waste out of our pipes, minimizes the chance for sewer back-ups and contributes to a more sustainable energy future that aligns with Sustaining Fort Wayne.

The City is working towards a cleaner and greener future through Sustaining Fort Wayne while fostering collaborations with local businesses and residents to create a more resilient and environmentally responsible community.

Restaurants interested in saving money and reducing the complexities of managing a grease interceptor can contact City Utilities at grease@cityoffortwayne.org or 427-2724.

For more information on Sustaining Fort Wayne visit sustainingfortwayne.org