From New Jersey to North Carolina, thieves are stealing used cooking oil as competition begins to heat up to pickup and resell cooking oil for biofuels, according to USA Today. And the stakes are getting high with prices pegged at around $1.90 per gallon for the used oil, according to the National Renderers Association.
Tom Cook, president of the National Renderers Association told USA today that there is more competition in urban areas to pick up and resell used cooking oil for use in biofuels, and almost all of its members who are involved in the business are experiencing grease theft.
Cook also said that about 3 billion pounds of used oil, or “yellow grease,” is produced in the U.S. annually with most of it being mixed with livestock feed.
In one case, police in North Bergen, N.J., told USA Today that two suspects siphoned 700 gallons of used cooking oil from the Five Guys Burgers and Fries restaurant into a container in their van.
David Miller, owner of the Kickin’ Chicken restaurant chain based in Mount Pleasant, S.C., said in the article that he knew something was going on when there were significant drop-offs in the monthly payment from grease buyers for the used oil picked up in his seven stores.
Due to the thefts some companies like Griffin Industries in Cold Spring, Ky., now employs a security team to focus on grease theft, while restaurants like Kickin’ Chicken now lock up their grease containers, reports USA Today.
Christopher A. Griffin, Griffin’s director of legal affairs, said in the article that the company loses about 1 million pounds of spent cooling oil a week to theft.
EL first reported on grease thefts in 2008 when thieves started breaking into outdoor bins at restaurants as the price for the fry grease started rising.