FreshDirect to Run NYC's Largest Private Biodiesel Truck Fleet

LONG ISLAND CITY, N.Y. -- Internet grocer FreshDirect here last week began filling delivery trucks with biodiesel blended fuel, the first step in converting its entire fleet to biodiesel over the next two months.

The fuel, from Tri-State Biodiesel, is made mainly from waste cooking oil from local restaurants. Tri-State said the switch to biodiesel will allow FreshDirect to reduce its carbon dioxide footprint annually by an estimated 7.5 million pounds, and also of lead to lower levels of carbon monoxide, sulfur, unburned hydrocarbons, and particulate matter. By the time
Biodiesel estimates that FreshDirect's. The retailer’s truck fleet will be the largest private trucking fleet in the city to convert to the fuel, Tri-State said.

"FreshDirect first partnered with Tri-State this summer for the collection of FreshDirect's used cooking oils to be converted into a source of biodiesel fuel," said FreshDirect s.v.p. of transportation Adrian Williams. "Today, we are closing the loop and powering our vehicles with the very same clean and efficient fuel that we have contributed to producing. This partnership underlines FreshDirect's strong commitment to being a responsible member of the New York City community."

According to the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratories, biodiesel made from recycled cooking oil produces 5.5 times the amount of energy used to create it.

Meanwhile, the company said it will likely have a temporary deficit of workers to man those trucks. The company late last month informed regular customers in a letter signed by c.e.o. Steve Michaelson that it was "going to have a harder time meeting your food needs" than usual, due to such factors as rapid growth and a pending federal audit of its records that has prompted some employees with "inadequate" documentation to leave. The company promised, however, that by promoting from within, training, and hiring externally, it would "be back at full capacity by the end of January."

FreshDirect serves most of Manhattan and locations in Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, as well as parts of New Jersey, Westchester, and Nassau County.
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