Mumbai: The oil used to make your French fries are also powering the refrigerated delivery trucks and even the refrigeration equipment aboard the trucks of McDonald’s in Mumbai for the last nine months.

Now, the McDonald’s master franchise for West and South India, Hardcastle Restaurants Pvt. Ltd (HRPL), is looking to expand this initiative to cover the rest of its operations over the next 12-18 months as it pushes forward on its sustainability agenda, a senior executive told Mint on Monday.

Hardcastle Restaurants generates about 750,000 litres of used cooking oil each month from frying across its 270 restaurants.

Earlier, this used oil was disposed of through waste disposal partners. However, now as it is looks at responsible disposal methods, the company has over the past year piloted conversion of the used oil into bio-diesel.

“This bio-diesel is being used for its own operations and logistics to transport raw materials from its distribution centre to the restaurant at no additional cost or savings," said Vikram Ogale, director-national supply chain and quality assurance, McDonald’s India.

The pilot has over the past year been scaled to cover 85 restaurants.

The South and West franchise of McDonald’s Corp. has 277 restaurants in this region and plans to expand to 450-500 restaurants over the next four years.

What this essentially means is using about 1.5 million litres of used oil to make biodiesel for running its refrigerated delivery trucks.

That’s a reduction of over 4,000 metric tonnes of carbon emissions—equal to planting about 200,000 trees, Ogale said.

Biodiesel made from used cooking oil is a cleaner fuel with 75% lower carbon emissions than diesel, said Ogale.

“This is just the beginning and we will continue to champion the cause of environment protection in the years to come," said Amit Jatia, vice-chairman, Westlife Development Ltd, a subsidiary of HRPL.

In June, the firm switched from plastic straws, cups and cutlery to wooden cutlery and paper straws and cups following the ban on plastic in Maharashtra.

“HRPL has become the first restaurant chain in the country to implement sustainable biodiesel by successfully recycling its used cooking oil," said Sandeep Chaturvedi, president of the Biodiesel Association of India.

He said the company and Unicon Biofuels have been working for the past one year to convert used cooking oil to biodiesel as per Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).

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