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Photo by Phil Corso
By Phil Corso

From fryer to fuel, students at Dartmouth College rolled through Douglaston last week to show off their eco-friendly Big Green Bus converted to run on waste vegetable oil.

They joined with members of biofuel companies American By-Products and A&L Recycling, which donated more than 300 gallons of waste vegetable oil to keep the wheels turning through the group’s drive across the country to engage public discussion on environmental responsibility.

“We are very excited to be a part of all this,” said Kelly McGlinchey, one of the 11 students along for the ride. “It is an honor to see so many people show an interest in what we are doing.”

The parking lot at Northern Boulevard’s Alley Pond Environmental Center was filled last Thursday evening with sightseers, city officials and even representatives from the New York Mets to be a part of the Big Green Bus’ only city stop.

The environmental sanctuary in Douglaston, at 228-06 Northern Blvd., helped reel the bus into Queens through Kelly McGlinchey’s cousin and APEC Registrar Elizabeth McGlinchey.

“Alley Pond is very proud and pleased to host these students as they move along in their journey,” said Irene Scheid, executive director for the environmental center. “It is a brilliant illustration of what we have to hope for. If we teach an appreciation of the environment, hopefully the next generation will take better care of it than we did.”

Borough President Helen Marshall sent along a proclamation declaring June 14 Alley Pond Environmental Center’s Big Green Bus Day in Queens, while City Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica) presented APEC and the retrofitted bus with city citations.

“These guys are doing a great thing,” said Todd Magee, co-owner of American By-Products. “They are showing the world how we can solve some of the country’s biggest problems by reducing our dependency on foreign oil.”

The bus was donated by Greyhound and transformed into a sustainable living space from recycled table tops to solar panels to provide electricity.

American By-Products buys discarded cooking oil from several area eateries throughout the city and converts it into the finished product. The group donated nearly 160 gallons to the bus last week.

Rob MacKay, of the Queens Economic Development Corp. and the Queens Tourism Council, said the students made the right choice in rolling through Queens to pass along their message.

“This is really for the benefit of Queens,” MacKay said. “It only keeps getting better because of efforts like these.”

Representing the Mets, Executive Vice President of Business Operations Dave Howard and Director of Venue Operations Tyrel Kirkham joined with their partners in A&L Recyclers to celebrate both the students’ efforts and the hefty waste vegetable oil donation.

“This is almost a no-brainer,” said Tim McGlinchey, general manager of the Courtyard Marriott near John F. Kennedy International Airport. “It gets people involved and makes a statement.”

The Courtyard Marriott helped facilitate the event by working with APEC, the Dartmouth students and the waste management companies to refuel the Big Green Bus.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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