Fast food chain McDonald’s has partnered with manufacturer Miele to make its washing machines more environmentally friendly and prevent ‘fatbergs’ by turning waste grease and oil into biofuels for its lorry fleet.

The aim of the collaboration is for the washing machines to be able to extract grease more easily, stopping UK sewers being blocked by fat-based waste, known as fatbergs. These are large masses of waste found in the sewage system that contain things such as congealed fat, oils and sanitary products that have been put down the drains or flushed down the toilet.

McDonald’s will upgrade the washing machines used in 1,300 restaurants across the UK so that they are able to extract grease and fats to stop drainage issues. The company will use the grease that is extracted to increase its biofuel production; it has used specialist grease recovery units (GRUs) since 2007 to fuel its UK delivery lorries.

In Europe, more than 80% of McDonald’s grease waste is reprocessed into biofuel. Of the fuel used by its delivery lorries, 28% is biodiesel, and 37% of this is generated from used cooking oil. The company want to increase this amount in the future.

McDonald’s building services consultant Dave Holden told Business Green: “Miele continues to assist us with our washing requirements to make our grease recovery process more effective and help McDonald’s Restaurant become more sustainable.

“The introduction of the GRU has enabled us to service more of our vehicle fleet with biofuel and with further modifications we expect this to increase further.”

Other companies that use their recycled cooking oils to produce biofuels are Forest Green Rovers football club, United Biscuits, TGI Friday’s and Carluccio’s.

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