Along with water and solar energy, is fat becoming the next renewable resource? Plastic surgery is taking a venture into recycling in a way that, while sounding a bit off-putting, makes total sense.

With liposuction and other procedures, a person’s fat is removed from areas of the body such as the belly, hips and legs. This fat is generally discarded as medical waste, sealed in a biohazard bag and never to be seen again.

While some may say, “good riddance,” and never wish to see that fat again, others were wondering if there was a better option than throwing it away. Hair is used to make wigs and old clothes are donated, so what can be done with the fat?

According to one plastic surgeon, requests from patients to donate fat to someone they knew or even a total stranger began to mount.

“I get offers all day long from friends willing to donate their fat for the use of another’s beauty. Many of my patients are even willing to donate anonymously to an unknown recipient,” wrote Dr. Michael Burgdorf, founder/president of Music City Plastic Surgery in Nashville. “I once heard a story of a surgeon who tried to come up with a mechanism to use unwanted fat cells to power his cigarette-style motor boat. Wouldn’t that be awesome!”

Unfortunately, fat cannot be transferred from one person to another. Instead, plastic surgeons found a different way to recycle fat: one in which the patient is both the giver and the recipient. Fat cannot be moved from one person to another, but it can be moved from one body part to another.