Fast food chain McDonald’s has joined forces with Severn Trent Water as part of an internal programme to better manage the way that it deals with fats, oils and grease (FOG) from its kitchens.
To increase the levels of oils that it recovers, McDonald’s is currently installing grease recovery units (GRUs) to its kitchen waste water discharge systems to remove as much grease as possible at source, before sending it for conversion to bio-diesel.
But the chain has also begun an education awareness initiative, aimed at informing staff about what they shouldn’t be pouring down sinks and drains at its restaurants.
Severn Trent has been helping McDonald’s to set up the campaign for a pilot group of managers across the Midlands on how to dispose of fats and oils from cooking, and understand the environmental benefits of looking after their pipes and local sewers.
It is also supporting the chain with regular maintenance of the sewer pipes near to the restaurants.
Sarah McLean, managing director of 12 McDonald’s restaurants in the Midlands area, said: “This collaborative approach on behalf of Severn Trent Water with my management teams has been a positive experience in ensuring we work in a pro-active way to operating the restaurants. It is an important aspect of our overall due diligence in providing a service to our customers and employing large numbers of staff that my team acts responsibly to protect the environment and sets the example. “
James Jesic, head of operations at Severn Trent Water, said that education on preventing blockages was the first step to overcoming the problem of drains and sewers getting blocked.
“By working with a company like McDonald’s, who take their environmental responsibility so seriously, together we’ll be able to make a significant difference to the number of blockages which are caused by fats, oils and greases. This in turn will serve as role model behaviour to other companies. We’re also using it as an opportunity to talk to them about how they can become more efficient with the amount of water they use.”
McDonald’s policy is to recycle used cooking oil into bio-diesel, which is then used to fuel more than half of its delivery trucks. It claims that running its trucks on this special biodiesel is the equivalent in terms of carbon emissions savings of taking 2,500 cars off the road each year.
It says that 99% of its restaurants now recycle their cooking oil in this way, and those that don’t at the moment recycle their oil in a different way.
MAIN PICTURE: Karen Woods, McDonald’s restaurant manager and Chris Allsop, Severn Trent Water community lead.