That big, old-timey, heavy industrial-looking thing just south of Bricktown is more earth friendly than it looks.
Producers Cooperative Oil Mill, a cottonseed and canola compress, stands out like — well, like a bunch of big barns. The industrial site is a sight in contrast to booming downtown and its office towers and Bricktown’s quaint, red-brick former industrial buildings turned eateries and attractions.
The 43-acre mill property, at 6 SE 4, is a throwback. It’s been there under the Producers Cooperative name since 1944. It was called Terminal Oil Mill before that. It was Liberty Cotton Oil Co. before that. It was Southwest Oil Compress Co. as early as 1906.
It just looks so heavy-duty, like the kind of industrial operation that would be hard to get zoning for nowadays — and never, now, right there.
But the place isn’t as scary as it looks. Austin Rose, president and CEO, in fact, said it’s downright earth-friendly because for all the tonnage of materials that come in, almost none is wasted.
From cottonseed, the mill extracts edible vegetable oil; meal, a livestock feed ingredient and source of protein; hulls, also used in livestock feed, as roughage or fiber; and linters, the short-short fibers left on seed after ginning, which go into paper, plastic and other products.
From canola, the mill makes oil sold for use in cooking and in food products, and meal, also used in animal feed.
Almost all the processes are mechanical, although some chemical processes are monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency.
How is it earth friendly?