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Black Market For Used Grease Converted Into Biodiesel Fuel Increases

By Brian Spaen

When most of us deal with grease on our food, we tend to simply find it disgusting. It will leak all over fast food bags, and it requires a lot of soap and water to clean off our hands. Used vegetable oil from cooking can be a mess when it comes to the cleanup process, as well. However, some people make a living from this grease. In fact, there’s an entire black market for it as biofuel continues to rise in value.

There are massive amounts of grease waste being generated by restaurants, especially in the fast food industry. Most of this gunk is handled by specific companies that deal with the waste. Once there’s enough, it's placed in a locked dumpster, and they’ll collect it and give it to an oil company that converts the used grease into biodiesel fuel. It should be a simple process, but gangs have taken advantage of the process and have created an illegal, lucrative business out of it.

A Bloomberg report from Mario Parker and Leslie Patton highlights the thievery of selling old grease from restaurants across the country. They’ll be found disguised as a collection company and will siphon the oil from the dumpsters. Some will do it late at night with hopes of sneaking in and leaving before getting caught. It’s led to an increase in changing locks and getting more advanced technology to thwart off stealers, but it’s only expected to rise in the future.