Foodservice Equipment Reports

California Bill Targets Grease Burglars

California lawmakers want to turn up the heat on thieves who steal restaurants’ used kitchen grease, a hot commodity in the biofuel industry. Assembly Bill 1566—aimed at curbing the rise in kitchen-grease theft by giving law enforcement the tools needed to stop the criminals—was introduced Jan. 30.

Existing state law already requires licensed renderers to record and keep paperwork for two years. But enforcement has been spotty, and the number of illegal transporters cruising alleyways at night to steal grease recycling containers or pump oil storage bins has skyrocketed. A.B. 1566 would increase the penalties for noncompliance and help sort out the legitimate companies from the thieves.

According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, a typical fast-food restaurant produces 150-250 lb. of grease a week and a fully loaded pumper truck could bring in as much as $900 at a recycling center. Stealing grease is like stealing money from restaurant owners as well as the companies they pay to safely remove and recycle it.

“We want to make sure that we’re paying attention to how the grease is being retrieved [and that] the people who are retrieving it are authorized and properly trained to do so,” said Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, who introduced the bill.