An Encouraging Rise in Grease Theft?

June 19, 2008 at 5:25 pm 1 comment

Still not sure if we’re in a recession? An article in yesterday’s Denver Post may diminish all doubt. Apparently, brazen thieves are roaming the Rockies stealing an unusual commodity: restaurant waste oil. In the past, deep-fryin’ eateries had to pay recycling companies to dispose of their messy used cooking oil. Yet as gasoline prices surge and demand grows for alternative energy sources like biodiesel, restaurants are having no problem getting rid of their excess grease. These days, it seems, even a barrel of waste oil sells for $30.

While biodiesel production was once the niche domain of energy-conscious environmentalists, this surge in oil crime marks its movement towards the mainstream. Sure, stealing oil from restaurants is illegal, but such criminal behavior is a positive indicator of a genuine, emerging demand for this efficient new energy source. Whether or not the oil industry chooses to invest in biodiesel, industrious people are already at work building the technologies, creating a black market supply chain, and ultimately fueling their own future. — Johnny


Entry filed under: Business, Food, Sustainability.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. So So  |  July 16, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    Interesting how people will try to justify criminal behavior based on their own greed. There is no longer any such thing as “waste” vegetable oil. And when you go onto someone else’s property and take something that has not been given you, it’s theft, it’s always been theft, and in the case of used cooking oil, one of increasing seriousness. If you’re still thinking about buying yourself an old Mercedes to burn the stuff it might pay to wait awhile, or be sure you have a dependable supply.The unfortunate fact is that the free ride is over. Most restaurants now will definitely NOT give the stuff to you any longer, not when it’s worth up to four dollars a gallon! So use a healthy amount of caution when someone offers you a vehicle converted to run on “free” veggie. As one who’s been in the business for 16 years I can tell you that competition for the stuff has reached a degree that can at times now actually be threatening (legally) and even unsafe. Theft of the oil and vandalism of competitors containers is now common, and many of us are phasing out our operations. It was a good little ride while it lasted, but it’s now turning into something most peaceful law abiding folks would be better off staying away from. I really hate to “bust-yer-bubble” on this, but you’d rather hear about it from someone who’s been there than face an irate owner or policeman, or worse yet a grease thief who may be even considerably less friendly! Just a word to the wise. Peace.


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