Mumbai– In a unique green initiative, McDonald’s on Monday said it has started recycling several tonnes of used cooking oil from its restaurants into biodiesel fuel to power the company’s fleet of refrigerated delivery trucks.

The pilot project initiated last year now covers the 85 McDonald’s outlets in Mumbai and will soon be extended to all the 275-plus branches in west and south regions of India, said Hardcastle Restaurants Pvt Ltd (HRPL) Director Vikram Ogale.

Accordingly, HRPL now converts over 35 tonnes (35,000 litres) of used cooking oil every month into biodiesel for its 25-strong fleet of refrigerated delivery trucks, resulting in savings of more than 420,000 litres of crude oil annually, he said.

Ogale said biodiesel made from used cooking oil is cleaner, with 75 per cent lower carbon emissions than diesel over its entire lifecycle, making it an eco-friendly fuel that helps cub global warming.

In fact, even the refrigeration equipment aboard the trucks is now powered by the biodiesel, he added.

Explaining the process, Ogale said the oil used for frying French fries and other foods is collected from the restaurants and taken to the converting facility in tankers, converted into biodiesel and returned for use in the supply logistics of the McDonald’s group in the city.

Westlife Development Ltd Vice Chairman Amit Jatia said that over the next four years, the HRPL plans to expand its restaurants to around 450-500.

“This means about 15 lakh litres of used oil to make bio-diesel for running the trucks fleet, thereby reducing over 4000 MT of carbon emissions, equal to planning about 200,000 trees,” Jatia pointed out.

Biodiesel Association of India (BAI( President Sandeep Chaturvedi said HRPL is the country’s first restaurant chain to implement the sustainable biodiesel by recycling its used cooking oil.

“The BAI encourages all food companies to learn from this initiative and apply it in their own business model,” Jatia urged.

In a statement, the HRPL said it has presented its biodiesel initiative to the FSSAI, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Petroleum, State Biofuel Development Boards in various states, Oil PSUs, food companies, CII, AIFPA and the NASVI, among others, in a bid to popularise it. (IANS)