Turning Christmas ham fat into renewable diesel fuel

Hundreds of collection points around the country will take your ham fat and turn it into fuel.

A worker inspects cartons of donated Christmas ham fat, ready for recycling / Credit: Neste

Households all across Finland have a pretty good idea of what to do with Christmas leftovers – they’re having the ham fat converted to renewable fuel.

A surprising number of Finns are collecting the fat from the cooked Christmas ham, and dropping it off at collection points. From there, it’s taken to a Neste refinery for processing into a fuel called ‘MY Renewable Diesel’.

The waste fat contained in an average-size ham produces enough fuel for a 2.9 kilometre car journey, and after Christmas 2018 there was enough fuel produced from Finnish fat to drive a car almost 650,000 kilometres.

“We are constantly on the lookout for new renewable raw materials that we can turn into low-emission fuels” says Kaisa Lipponen from Neste.

“Our goal with this campaign in Finland is to bring the idea of curcular economy closer to consumers, encourage recycling and environmental consciousness, and of course spread some holiday cheer” Lipponen adds.

Now in its third year, Neste’s ‘From Fat to Fuel‘ campaign hopes to get 300,000 Finnish households on board to recycle excess ham fat, which would be about 17% of the 6.8 million kilos of ham eaten every Christmas.

There are 230 collection points around the country, at Neste petrol stations and K-Supermarkets, and they’re accepting ham fat in closed container like a milk carton until 7th January.

The ham fat is turned into renewable diesel fuel at Neste’s Porvoo refinery, and the fuel’s carbon footprint is up to 80% lower than conventional fossil diesel.