Assemblymember Chris Holden’s bill (D-Pasadena) to combat the growing problem of kitchen grease theft has passed by unanimous vote in the Assembly and now heads to the Senate.
“Restaurants are finding that their used kitchen grease is a hot commodity that has sparked grease wars in a battle over who can cash in on the ‘liquid gold’ that is then converted into biodiesel fuel,” explained Assemblymember Holden. “This bill closes a loophole in enforcement code that will make it easier to stop the bad players.”
According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, a typical fast-food restaurant produces 150-250 pounds of grease a week and a fully loaded pumper truck could bring in as much as $900 at a recycling center. Thieves often strike in the night and syphon off the used grease and sell it on the black market.
AB 1566 gives law enforcement the tools they need to stop modern-day oil rustlers by beefing up requirements for licensed haulers, increasing the penalties for stealing grease and allowing law enforcement to impound vehicles for up to 15 days.
About 3 billion pounds of used oil is produced in the U.S. each year. Biodiesel is a product of vegetable oil or animal fat mixed with alcohol that can be turned into usable engine fuel or added to regular diesel.