Used Cooking Oil The Unlikely Black Gold

Do you use outdoor containers for your used cooking oil storage? If so, you could be losing hundreds of dollars each year – without even realizing it. You may not think that container of rancid oil is worth much, but to the right recycling company, it can be worth a considerable amount. Due to this, cooking oil theft has actually become a multi-million dollar black market commodity.

The reason for this is simple – recycling oil pays. While cosmetic and livestock feed companies have paid a small amount for used oil for years, the real reason for the upswing in theft is its use in manufacturing biodiesel. It is estimated that cooking oil theft, which costs the industry over $39 billion every year, has more than doubled since 2012. The problem is, many restaurant owners have found that law enforcement really doesn’t take the theft seriously.

Thieves target outdoor used cooking oil storage containers frequently, and you have probably been a victim without even realizing it. The oil snatchers have their own pumping equipment, and they often show up after business hours, when they are likely to have the most uninterrupted time to get the job done.

Therefore, the next question is, why is dirty cooking oil worth a thief’s time? The reason is, there are many companies that pay up to $.32 per pound or more for used cooking oil, and this is why the thefts have become such a problem. Recycling companies that use the oil for biodiesel are more than willing to pay those that bring the oil to them. However, they have no way of knowing if the oil is stolen, or simply from a smaller business that doesn’t need a massive truck coming in to haul it away.

So what does all this mean for those who have outdoor cooking oil storage containers? Well, you basically have three choices. You can start trying to put locks on the containers, ignore the problem altogether, or you also have the option of investing in a storage system that is kept inside the restaurant. For the most part, this is likely the better option. The thieves have been known to break or cut locks quite efficiently, and ignoring the problem means you have no qualms about losing money – and we all know that isn’t true.

While it may be just dirty cooking oil to many, it has become unlikely black gold for thieves – and something you should be worried about protecting.