Brower Youth Awards

Cassandra Lin

Westerly, RI

Connecting the dots between community needs and biofuel waste for an unconventional solution

New England winters can be harsh, especially for those who can’t afford to heat their homes. When she was in fifth grade Cassandra Lin learned that used cooking oil could be converted into cheap, clean-burning biodiesel to heat homes. The same year, 2008, Lin founded Turn Grease Into Fuel (TGIF), a youth group that collects kitchen grease from local restaurants to be recycled and shared with charities that identify families who need heating assistance. So far, Lin’s outfit has helped offset more than 2 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions by promoting the use of biodiesel. In 2011, Lin and her team drafted a bill that required all businesses in Rhode Island to recycle their waste cooking oil and worked with local legislators to get it approved. State lawmakers passed the Used Cooking Oil Recycling Act in June 2011 and the law went into effect in January 2012, expanding TGIF’s efforts into neighboring communities. The network of local businesses and charities that Lin and her team created is itself a well-oiled machine that addresses the needs of community members and reduces waste and pollution.


Profile Film

Award Acceptance Speech