A recycled truck that runs on restaurant scraps and is made from trash will arrive back in the UK on September 9th after a two year tour around the world. Andy Pag from London and Christina Ammon from Oregon, both 36, have driven their bio-truck across Europe, Asia, the Americas and the Middle East on used cooking oil which they have scavenged from fryers as they travelled the 30,000 km they have covered.
The bio-truck came to life in 2009 after Pag salvaged an old school bus from the scrapyard, and used reclaimed materials to transform it into a cosy and unique eco-home. He also converted the engine so that it would run on old cooking oil by installing a filter system and putting a large tank beneath the bed.
He has said that it was an experiment to see if they would be able to recycle their way around the globe. He added that he was as shocked as anyone that they managed to travel so many miles without having to put any fossil fuel at all in the tank.
Finding used oil on their journey was only one of the challenges that faced the couple, as constant breakdowns hampered their progress, and one of their routes took them into Southern Pakistan where the Taliban fighters frequently attacked the road convoys. When they reached India, Pag was arrested and imprisoned in the infamous Ajmer prison in charges of suspected terrorism, this caused a delay of months.
The couple, who met and fell in love during the trip in the 22 year old Mercedes bus, maintain that there were many more highs than lows, and Ammon is particular has fond memories of the break downs. She said that those were the times when they met the most interesting people, and they had had a truly unique venture.
This wasn’t the first time that Pag has made a long haul journey in an environmentally friendly vehicle. In 2007 he drove a lorry that was powered by chocolate to Timbuktu, using bio-diesel that he created from waste cocoa butter.
“We couldn’t have done it without the enthusiasm and help from the strangers we’ve met along the road, and from our sponsors.” added Pag, “The random acts of kindness have given us an overwhelming faith in how great humankind is.”
The recycling road trip was inspired by a desire to travel on a sustainable carbon budget and the couple say that travelling around the world using things others have thrown away has convinced them that tackling consumption-culture is the key to reducing carbon emissions.
After a brief stop in the UK the couple and the truck head south through Europe to Africa. They update their blog www.biotruckexpedition.org regularly and are writing a book about their adventure. They plan to tour schools and businesses in the UK early next year giving talks and sharing the lessons they’ve learned along their journey about the effects of climate change and carbon reduction efforts in the countries they visited.