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Market News

 July 03, 2007
McDonald's to Recycle Cooking Oil to Power its Vehicles

 Stoneleigh, UK -- By converting the cooking oil from its 1,200 restaurants in Britain into biodiesel, McDonald's said it could save 1.5 million gallons of gasoline used by its delivery fleet in the U.K.

The company launched the new fueling program yesterday with just over 20 vehicles of its fleet in southern England, and said that over the next year it would convert all 155 of its delivery vehicles to biodiesel.

The fuel in use now is 85 percent recycled cooking oil, which McDonald's has collected from about 900 restaurants in the area, and combined with 15 percent rapeseed (canola) oil.

"We have ensured we don't have any other oils. A lot of other cooking oils that are collected are very contaminated," Matthew Howe, senior vice president with McDonald's U.K., told Reuters, saying that including animal fats in the mix can cause problems with refining.

Howe said McDonald's is using a mix of U.K.-grown rapeseed oil and imported Spanish sunflower oil for its cooking oils, as part of a new policy announced in April to remove trans-fats from its cooking. The switch has caused a nationwide shortage in rapeseed oil, although British farmers are beginning to increase supply to meet the demand. "We are pretty much buying the whole [U.K.] crop," Howe said.

McDonald's estimates that by switching their fleets to biodiesel, it will prevent the emission of 1,675 tons of carbon per year.