Friday, April 4, 2008

On the 'transportation of inedible kitchen grease'

It seems a biodiesel advocate has been arrested for siphoning 300 gallons of grease from a Burger King in Morgan Hill, CA. Among the charges is 'Illegal transportation of inedible kitchen grease'. This is a bit curious and clearly there are a lot of biodiesel advocates who are going around collecting used fryer oil from restaurants. Though: "He certainly had been to other places in the area," said Morgan Hill police Cmdr. David Swing. "Our guess is its a bio-diesel fuel thing..."

California Food and Agricultural Code FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL CODE SECTION 19310-19317 does make this an illegal act.

19310. (a) It is unlawful for any person or entity to engage in the transportation of inedible kitchen grease without being registered with the department and without being in possession of a valid registration certificate issued by the department.

19310.5. It is unlawful for any person who is not a registered transporter of inedible kitchen grease to transport that product from
any place within this state to any place outside the borders of this state.

19310.7. Any person registered as a transporter of inedible kitchen grease may deliver any inedible kitchen grease to a licensed renderer or collection center for processing or recycling into usable products. As used in this section, "usable products" includes, but is not limited to, biofuels, lubricants, and animal feed, provided the uses for animal feed are permitted by the rules and regulations adopted by the United States Food and Drug Administration.


There is a law waiting to be signed in California which would modify the requirements for the above license. In Help reduce WVO costs it is said the fee for the above license was increased from $175 to $400. This places the license beyond the reach of an individual collecting used cooking oil on their own. Waste derived biodiesel is a petition to Gov Schwarzenegger to sign the law.

It's interesting that there is an existing industry of waste oil recycling, who is fighting to protect their turf. And that there are desparate people looking for money and stealing waste oil.

Is this law being used to improve public safety? That is, perhaps there is a danger to public safety when transporting this cooking grease? Or was the law enacted to protect the entrenched industry of "waste" oil recycling.

It's a fact that a lot of vegetable oil is being produced and used in cooking all around the world. So I'm curious what happens to that oil after it's used in cooking? It is possible for the oil to be cleaned and reused, however as a former employee in fast food I know from personal experience the cost of doing so and how that process can only be done so many times. It would be possible for a processing company to make other products out of the oil. For example it's known vegetable oil contains glycerin, and it's well known you can make diesel fuel out of "waste" oil.

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