Restaurant waste oil grease thefts on the rise

Photo by Paul Keleher. Licensed under Creative Commons license 2.0.

Yesterday, driving around the Detroit suburbs, I saw a man holding up a sign along the side of the road that read, "We buy gold inside Kroger." (Kroger is a large grocery store chain). It seemed to me that the man making (I'm guessing) minimum wage to hold a piece of cardboard alerting people that they can hawk their jewelery at the local grocery store for quick cash is one of those sure signs that the economy is failing (necklace for noodles, anyone?). Another sure sign in my eyes are the increased incidents of people stealing waste grease from restaurants.

This isn't new, and folks have been stealing standard fuel, too. But the New York Times reports that grease bandits are more active now than ever before, trying to steal waste grease to supply biofuel providers and move our vehicles. Part of the reason is that this stuff is a commodity, trading at around 33 cents a pound this week, up from under eight cents in 2000, thanks to biodiesel producer demand. To help prevent thieves from taking gas straight out of the tank, vehicle drivers can buy a locking gas cap. What are restaurants supposed to do? Buy huge locking dumpsters? Kind of. Some restaurant owners are considering putting surveillance cameras out back to keep an eye on the liquid waste.

[Source: New York Times]

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