7/06/2007

Practical Environmentalism

Interesting story at Canada.com.
STONELEIGH, Warwickshire (Reuters) - McDonald's said on Monday it is to convert its British delivery fleet to run on biodiesel made largely from its own recycled cooking oil.
Matthew Howe, senior vice president with McDonald's UK, said the fast food restaurant should eventually be able to replace the six million litres of diesel its fleet used last year with cooking oil from its 1,200 restaurants in Britain.
"We may even have a little bit of excess (biodiesel) capacity we can sell into the market," he told Reuters.
McDonald's launched its rollout on Monday with half of its 45-strong fleet based in Basingstoke and in about 12 months would convert all its 155 delivery trucks to run on the green fuel...
The biodiesel will initially be made up of 85 percent used cooking oil collected from around 900 McDonald's restaurants and 15 percent from pure rapeseed oil.
"As we get better at the refinement we will be able to remove virgin rape (oil) from the process," Howe said.
Howe said the company keeps its used cooking oil apart from other supplies.
"We have ensured we don't have any other oils. A lot of other cooking oils that are collected are very contaminated," he said, noting animal fats can cause refining difficulties...
Seed companies have expressed concerns that the growth of demand for rapeseed oil from the biofuels sector was hampering the expansion of healthier but sometimes lower yielding high oleic varieties.
By using the fuel, McDonald's will save 1,675 tonnes of carbon per year, the company said.

If a company wants to reduce its carbon footprint, then as far as I am concerned this is a very practical way to do it. Simply find a way to recycle your waste. Not everything needs to be thrown out.
What's important to note is that no one is forcing McDonald's to do this. There's no law. They took the initiative themselves. I would like to see more food companies follow McDonald's lead if they can.

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