Momentum for Change: Community Based Recycling Programme - Production of Biodiesel from Used Vegetable Oil with The Lester Vaughan Secondary School


Focus area: Mitigation
Location: Lester Vaughn Secondary School, Barbados
Established: November 2005

The goal of the activity was to demonstrate how biodiesel can be used as an environmentally friendly alternative to diesel in vehicles. The proponent worked with the Lester Vaughn Secondary School to design a project that includes the following: 


The demonstration activity brought together a NGO, a secondary school, and a young entrepreneur. The activity created a partnership between the grantee, one of the largest secondary schools in Barbados and a small Sole Proprietorship. The student members of the school's Environmental Club collected used vegetable oil from their homes and communities while the Sole Proprietorship collected the oil, sold the PEP bottles in which the oil came, produced biodiesel and glycerin and paid the Environmental Club for the PEP bottles, as well as for each liter of biodiesel and glycerin sold.

The income generated through the sale of the biodiesel was shared with the students and their school in order to conduct other environmental and community activities. The vegetable oil is processed by the young entrepreneur at a conversion rate of 1:1 and sold to diesel vehicle owners including farmers with agricultural machinery. As part of the business plan, there was a marketing and promotions plan that helped to expand the market for biodiesel substantially. 

The students were further exposed to business training workshops. To demonstrate biodiesel in generators as well as for income generating activities, the private sector donated a popcorn machine and a diesel generator, which are managed by the school's Environmental Club. The generator runs on the biodiesel produced and the funds from the sale of popcorn were used to develop environmental activities. A portion of the funds will also go back to the students as an incentive to design further community activities with environmental benefits.

The activity finished in June 2007 after two phases.

Mitigation / Adaptation

Project impact on the Environment of Barbados: A total of 3,943 liters of oil have been collected, which would have otherwise been disposed of in sink drains or in some other non-environmentally friendly manner. A total of 3,154 liters of biodiesel have been produced and used to fuel diesel vehicles, resulting in the reduction of approximately 6,000 tons of CO2 emissions. Additionally 592 liters of Glycerin, another useful by-product of converting used vegetable oil to biodiesel, was produced.


The major beneficiaries of this activity were the students of the Lester Vaughan Secondary School. The school has approximately 1100 students and the environmental club has approximately 15 -20 core members. The students in general have become more environmentally conscious and the environmental club has been revived, has become more focused and now meets regularly. Additionally, the students have earned an income of overall BDS $4415.60 (3154 x $1.40/liter) from their collection of used vegetable oil.

Potential for scaling-up and replication

The school received the Minister's Award for the Environment for this activity from the Ministry of Youth, Family, Sports and the Environment during the month of June 2008, which is also locally celebrated as the "Environment Month". The activity has been highlighted for its innovativeness in the mass media on several occasions. Upscaling the activity and leverage from GEF SGP was instrumental in securing a loan for the sole proprietor from the Barbados Agency for Micro Enterprise Development in the amount of US$ 9,626.82. Recently, the activity has attracted the interest of an American based company, which has now invested approximately US$ 30,000 in new equipment at the plant and there are plans to collect and recycle used vegetable oil on a larger scale in Barbados. There are also future plans involving the production of biodiesel from Jatropha.

Images owned by the activity partners, all rights reserved.