Biodiesel is usually produced from food-grade vegetable oils that are more expensive than diesel fuel. Therefore, biodiesel produced from food-grade vegetable oil is currently not economically feasible. Waste cooking oils, restaurant grease and animal fats are potential feedstocks for biodiesel. These inexpensive feedstocks represent one-third of the US total fats and oil production, but are currently devoted mostly to industrial uses and animal feed. The characteristics of feedstock are very important during the initial research and production stage. Free fatty acids and moisture reduce the efficiency of transesterification in converting these feedstocks into biodiesel. Hence, this study was conducted to determine the level of these contaminants in feedstock samples from a rendering plant. Levels of free fatty acids varied from 0.7% to 41.8%, and moisture from 0.01% to 55.38%. These wide ranges indicate that an efficient process for converting waste grease and animal fats must tolerate a wide range of feedstock properties. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.