Modena festival fueled by environmental energy

Alternative energy and green products featured at 4th annual event

By Kathleen Brady Shea Managing Editor,

Pint-size painters turned a giant trash bin into a colorful work of art.

MODENA — Under neon blue skies, environmental green attracted a crowd yesterday at the 4th annual Energy Independence Day at the Waste Oil Recyclers four-acre complex in in the borough.

Co-sponsored by Downingtown’s Victory Brewing Company and Organic Mechanics Soil, a peat-free potting soil business that shares space with Waste Oil Recyclers, the festival provided a plethora of activities for the couple hundred people who attended. Some set up chairs or blankets to enjoy music from Rolling Thunder Blues Revue, the Wallace Brothers, and Mason Porter, groups with a strong presence of Waste Oil

Others strolled through a phalanx of booths by earth-friendly purveyors, ranging from the recycled glass countertops of Greenable Building and Design Center in Kennett Square to the green toys and goods of Stokes Solar, a Berks County business that eschews batteries.

Matthew Lapp, a Thorndale chiropractor, wanted to let people know about a Coatesville Farmers Market that will open on June 9 at Gateway Park and continue on Saturdays through October from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Coatesville-area residents are also invited to participate in the Coatesville Community Garden, where they can grow their own food in a 3-foot by 12-foot raised bed for $20, he said.

Children’s activities included face-painting, transforming trash bins into works of art with paint, potting plants, and games.
Like Waste Oil Recyclers, the festival has grown since its inception, said Brenda McNeil, its communications director. She said the company, which turns used cooking oil into biofuel, invited business participants who share an interest in environmental pursuits.

One of the trucks that Waste Oil Recyclers use to pick up used cooking oil. The company uses the oil to make biodiesel fuel for vehicles and was just one the local green companies featured at the festival.

Waste Oil Recyclers began in 2006 when Jim Bricker, Brendan Steer, and Robert Mastrippolito combined a commitment to combating the country’s energy crisis with some business acumen. Bricker had converted a diesel Mercedes into a “grease car,” greasing the skids for what would become Waste Oil Recyclers. After processing 10,000 gallons of used cooking oil its first year, the company now can collect that much in a day, McNeil said. The oil comes from more than 2,000 businesses, including hospitals, stadiums, and restaurants, she said.

Perhaps the company’s success with cooking oil fueled Steer’s culinary obsession yesterday. He manned the fried Oreo station – situated between the Victory Beer tasting table and a cupcake vendor. After slathering dozens of cookies with dough and deep-frying them, he decided to give some cupcakes a turn.

“Wow, that’s a lot of sugar,” one taste-tester opined.

“You got the piece that was all frosting,” Steer responded.

But even if he failed to create the next gourmet sensation, he could still count the attempt as successful: The oil will be recycled.

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