Because of the waste oil, the United States and China have caught a bunch of people, but different crimes are thought-provoking...

On April 26, a total of 11 hot pot restaurant owners and related personnel in Wenzhou, 11 people, used the kitchen waste oil to process edible hot pot oil for customers to eat, was convicted of producing and selling toxic and harmful food, and was sentenced to imprisonment and fine. Among them, the three hot pot shop owners were sentenced to two years and more imprisonment.

At about 5:26 am on March 2, local time, two men in Knoxville, Tennessee, used a hose to extract the grease from the trash can and put it into an unlicensed white truck. Loaded in multiple large drums. Subsequently, the two men were arrested by police officers who heard the news. The police also captured 2,200 pounds of waste oil worth about $600.

Recently, in China and the United States, people were sentenced or arrested for "ditch oil" problems. However, the owners of the three hot pot restaurants in Wenzhou were to return the “ditch oil” to the table, while the two thieves in Tennessee in the United States stole the “ditch oil” for sale to the refinery.

So why is there such a difference?

In the past 17 years, US trench oil prices soared 230%

According to Bloomberg News on May 13, just a few weeks before the two men were arrested, 44 grease cans were stolen near Knoxwild, Tennessee. The reason for their theft of these “ditch oils” is that the demand and prices of US “ditch oil” have soared.

In 2016, 1.4 billion pounds (about 635,000 metric tons) of oil in the United States was converted to biodiesel – that is, an average daily conversion of 1,750 tons. The black market for a “ditch oil” deal is booming as the US refinery processes a record high level of oils and fats.


▲ US refinery “ditch oil” processing volume (Source: Bloomberg)

In the United States, most restaurants hire waste handlers to transport waste oil for many days. But the Natio nal Renderers Association says that every year, $75 million worth of waste oil is illegally pumped, and a significant portion of it eventually flows to refineries. The price of biofuels has been rising, which has greatly enhanced the thief's motives for committing crimes.

Oil burglary incidents are also growing in some restaurants in eastern New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Sumit Majumdar, president of waste oil purchaser and Buffalo Biodiesel Inc., said he had to replace the customer's grease cans in the past six months. About 1000 locks. Since this theft was tantamount to stealing money from his wallet, Magamda hired a private detective in March to help him track these odious thieves. An illegal extractor may cause the company to lose 20% of its income. Magamda said he has offered a reward of $5,000 for the early arrest of the perpetrators and bringing them to justice.

Some Midwestern companies say these thefts involve even international criminal groups and street gangs.

Discovering value in second-hand grease is nothing new. For more than a century, waste oil has been processed into raw materials for many products, from cosmetics to paints to pet food and livestock feed.

But now, more “ditch oil” is processed into fuel. Fuel already accounts for about 30% of the total demand for “ditch oil”. An energy law passed in 2007 requires that more cars, trucks, and buses use more biofuels.

According to government data, oil companies must incorporate 2 billion gallons of biodiesel into diesel in 2017. This ratio hit a record high of 1.9 billion gallons in 2016. And 10 years ago, oil companies would not add this fuel to diesel.

The rising demand has an impact on prices. According to the US Department of Agriculture, the benchmark price of yellow grease was 25 cents per pound in early May this year, an increase of 230 percent compared to April 2000. In 2011, when the price of crude oil exceeded $100 per barrel and the retail price of gasoline was close to $4 per gallon, the benchmark price of yellow grease was as high as 47.75 cents.

â–² white: "ditch oil" price; blue: diesel price (Source: Bloomberg)

The rebound in biodiesel is pushing up the value of oil. From February 17 to April 28, the price of biodiesel rose by 12% to $3 per gallon.

Where is China's “ditch oil” used?

After a few years of "ditch oil" remediation, the "ditch oil" returned to the table less and less, but it has not been completely eliminated. On April 24 this year, the State Council re-raised the management of “ditch oil” and issued the “Opinions of the General Office of the State Council on Further Strengthening the Management of “Ditch Oil”. The "Opinions" pointed out that it is necessary to continuously increase the intensity of crackdowns and strengthen the source of governance. The illegal and criminal activities of selling and selling "ditch oil" with kitchen waste as raw materials have been curbed.

According to the Nanjing Daily, in the 1970s, due to the shortage of edible oil in Germany, there was also a phenomenon of “ditch oil”. To this end, the German government introduced regulations to recycle “ditch oil”, requiring “ditch oil producers” to sign a “water recycling contract” with the government, and specify in which company “removal oil” should be recycled, when to recycle, and recycling. After who processed the program.

The recovered “ditch oil” has two main purposes: one is to treat it as a raw material for the chemical and cosmetic industries; the other is to use it as an energy source, such as biodiesel, for automobile fuel, or for power generation and heating.

Now, various cities in Germany have established a “ditch oil” recycling system. The amount of waste oil recovered in each city varies from thousands of tons to tens of thousands of tons.

In contrast, the problem of “unknown whereabouts” of Chinese trench oil is still serious. According to Xinhua News Agency reported in July last year, Kunming is one of the cities under the State Council's “Pilot of Urban Kitchen Waste Utilization and Harmless Treatment”.

According to the Kunming Urban Management Bureau, as of the end of 2015, there were 16,953 catering enterprises in 8 districts of the main city of Kunming, generating about 500 tons of kitchen waste every day. According to the 20% oil content of kitchen waste, Kunming produces about 100 tons of “ditch oil” every day, and there are more than 36,000 tons in the whole year.

However, the amount of “ditch oil” recovered by several companies in Kunming that handles the disposal of kitchen waste is very limited, and most of them have flowed into informal channels such as black workshops.

Although the problem of returning to the table of "ditch oil" has been reduced, there are still many "ditch oils" going unclear. As the State Council said, the long-term mechanism for comprehensive improvement of “ditch oil” has not been fully established.

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