Saturday, November 12, 2011

Grease is the new copper

Materials and resources once common, inexpensive or just non-existing pop up in a new league of the craved for or expensive. Copper and solar panels have been new objects of theft in recent years. Now grease is getting locked up to protect it from thieves. Yes, grease.

Biofuel producers are now buying used cooking oil from restaurants. What was once foul waste is today a resource for the non-fossil energy sector. In this crisis struck economy the temptation of containers filled to the brim with valuable grease left unguarded behind restaurants is too much for some.
"It's become the new copper. [...] It's difficult to get law enforcement people to spend a lot of time on somebody who's stealing grease."
- Tom Cook, president of the National Renderers Association
The grease sells at 3 USD per gallon (0.6 € per liter) - five times its price a decade ago.
"It's a big deal. There's a huge underground out there for this stuff."
- Bobby Tessler, owner of St. Louis Wing Co., who had about 2,000 USD worth of grease stolen since April.
One of the rare cases of grease thieves getting fined is from a town called Springfield. Grease theft was "predicted" in a 1998 episode of The Simpsons.

Sources: Two Alleged Grease Thieves Arrested in Arlington, Restaurant Grease As Good As Gold To Biofuel Thieves, Grease becomes a hot commodity for thieves, Two Missouri brothers facing charges for grease theft.

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