Who says that clean energy policies don’t create jobs? The boom in biodiesel has created not only a new commodities market in cooking grease, but a new business opportunity for security professionals — not to mention providing work for thieves and black-market fences, which is a kind of job? That’s because fryer oil is now such a valuable resource that people are straight-up stealing it.
In recent years, a couple of state governments have realized that cooking grease has a use as a biofuel source and have regulated grease collection. At the same time, though, some less-than-savory characters have realized the grease’s value as well and are boosting it, costing some small rendering businesses losses on the order of $750,000 per year. And so the world comes to this impasse, as described by The New York Times:
The grease is often stored in black Dumpsters that reek of death, in back alleys, which is why pickups usually take place in the middle of the night.
But the rendering industry has been trying to lock down the growing market, driven by demand for biodiesel, from freeloaders. Many restaurants now have contracts with collection companies to sell their grease for about $300 per container.
In California, at least, lobbyists (more jobs!) have convinced law enforcement to take this problem seriously, and the state’s agriculture department has been working on a pilot program to prosecute thieves. We are looking forward to Hollywood’s first cooking-grease-based heist film.