McDonalds and Miele prevent fatbergs by tweaking grease recovery10 April 2019

Miele 'Little Giant'

McDonald’s Restaurants in the UK is working alongside Miele to prevent fatbergs and reduce the resources required to respond to grease-related drain blockages. The same project is also helping McDonald’s Restaurants to increase production of biofuel for its lorry fleet.

Supported by the professional division of Miele, McDonalds is adapting the washing machines it uses. The modified Miele ‘Little Giant’ washing machines are now standard across almost all 1,300 McDonald’s Restaurants in the UK, used to launder all mopheads and cleaning cloths on site. Using the grease recovered from these wash cycles, McDonald’s Restaurants has also been able to increase its biofuel production.

McDonald’s Restaurants has been installing specialist grease recovery units (GRUs) for several years. However, a typical 85 degrees Celsius grease removal wash cycle would deposit grease and fat into a GRU at high temperatures, reducing its ability to separate and be extracted. So, Miele also developed a bespoke and redesigned wash cycle using lower temperatures to allow the grease to be recovered more efficiently, without compromising on hygiene. This allows the grease to be collected more easily, extracted and used towards the production of vehicle biofuel. The full rollout of the new programme is expected to take place over the next 12 months.

For the last decade, Miele has been the sole supplier of washing machines in the UK. McDonald’s Restaurants previously found that the high temperature wash and detergents used to remove grease during the washing cycle were highly aggressive on the machines and limited the lifespan of non-Miele washers to just two years. Miele worked with McDonalds to adapt the machine to their requirements; replacing the hoses, valves and door seal with silicon-based items to make them more durable and hard-wearing. The specially-adapted machines have also been customised for easy use in the restaurants with minimal controls and a pre-set wash cycle.

Dave Holden, building services consultant at McDonald’s Restaurants commented: “Miele continues to assist us with our washing requirements to make our grease recovery process more effective and help McDonald’s Restaurants become more sustainable as a company. The introduction of the GRU has enabled us to service more of our vehicle fleet with biofuel and with further modifications we expect this to increase further.”

Simon Hart, national account manager at the professional division of Miele added:”We have several exciting developments in the pipeline to further optimise the grease recovery process.”

William Dalrymple

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