used cooking oil theft

How to Prevent Used Cooking Oil Theft

In Pennsylvania, cooking oil theft has become big business, and has caught the eye of organized crime. A rash of thefts across the state have the eye of the State Police’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Northampton County District Attorney Terry Houck said agencies in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York are working to determine how the incessant oil heists in the region are related. Used cooking oil is stolen because it can be made into biodiesel fuel, which rises in value with oil prices. So, why is used cooking oil stolen? It is stolen because of the resale value and because it can be relatively easy to do.

Prevent Used Cooking Oil Theft-At What Cost?

Jeff Yasinski, owner and partner at D&W Alternative Energy LLC in Trenton, New Jersey, which collects used cooking oil, said in a given week anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 in lost revenues from stolen oil. This doesn’t include the cost to repair the tanks damaged in the theft. These tanks cost more than $1,000 each. “This isn’t some petty teenage crime. This is real crime. There’s real money in it,” Yasinski said.

Legitimate businesses, UCO (used cooking oil) collectors, pick up used cooking oil from restaurants, pay a rebate for the oil, clean grease traps and help restaurants keep clean. Thieves, usually in white unmarked or poorly marked trucks arrive at night, break into locked outdoor UCO containers, steal the oil, often leaving large messy spills and headaches for restaurant owners. Thieves often go into the restaurant and claim to be a subcontractor for the restaurant’s UCO collector. (D&W Alternative Energy created a badge security system to prevent this subcontractor scam.)

Still, theft happens, and it can be expensive for restaurants to lose the value of what they are paid for their used cooking oil and it can be very expensive to clean up grease spills, not to mention the damage to the reputation of the restaurant caused by the mess that has to be cleaned up.

It is possible to prevent used cooking oil theft.

How do I protect used cooking oil from thieves?

Kristof Reiter, the cooking oil trader, and developer of a used cooking oil collection software, said that stronger regulation across the country would help prevent used cooking oil theft. In California, for example, oil collectors are required to have a log of everywhere they pick up oil.

The best solution to protect used cooking oil from thieves is to have your UCO collector install an automated indoor UCO management system. With an automated UCO system the thieves do not have access to the UCO tanks so they can’t break in to get the oil and spill it.  

Installing a motion detect security camera that monitors the UCO tank can deter thieves. You’ll also have video of the theft, license plate numbers and pictures to provide the police.

Are automated used cooking oil (UCO) systems expensive?

Automated UCO systems have become surprisingly inexpensive over the past few years. If your restaurant produces significant amounts of UCO, your UCO collector should talk to you about an automated system. This video explains how you can install an automated UCO system with $0 upfront capital.

How do automated UCO systems work?

There are numerous types of automated systems configurable to the space available in your restaurant. Some are configured so a flick of a switch transfers the used oil from the fryer to the tank. Others employ a UCO caddy, which fits under the fryer. The oil drops into the caddy and the caddy is wheeled to the tank and emptied with a suction wand. These are common when the tanks have to be installed a good distance from the fryers. Others configure a wand to go into the fryer and suction it directly into the tank. 

See them here.

Automated UCO systems save big bucks!

The restaurant industry spends $12 B per year on spills, falls and burns. An UCO system greatly reduces what a restaurant spends on accidents, insurance and Workmen’s comp claims.

Automated UCO systems produce dramatic financial returns and are a go-to solution for grease theft.

Call D&W Alternative Energy today to ask about their UCO systems. 609-902-9053.

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