Waste not, want not
As Mitchells & Butlers is the largest on-trade caterer in the country, serving around 130 million meals a year to our guests, it's not surprising that we end up with a certain amount of waste from all that cooking and eating. But we have made a great deal of progress in the last few years in collecting and recycling this waste, turning it into something that is useful. Recycling or converting our waste into a source of renewable energy is helping hugely to reduce the environmental impact of our businesses.
We are doing this in two ways:
The used cooking oil is collected from all our restaurants and pubs and is then refined to take out impurities and excess moisture. This refining process stops the waste oil - and money - from literally going down the drain, as it is converted into an effective and efficient substitute for fossil fuels. In this refined form, it is suitable for a range of uses in biodiesels, biofuels and biolubricants.
The biodiesel is sold on to fuel companies to blend into the diesel used by motor vehicles every day. So, as all fuel sold on garage forecourts contains 3.25% of biodiesel, the lorries delivering food, drink and other essentials into our restaurants and pubs are running on tanks filled with fuel which, in part, has been derived from the very restaurant they're going to!
In this way, we recycle some three million litres of cooking oil each year, making a carbon saving of around 5,000 tonnes - the equivalent of taking 25,400 cars off the road each year.
Working with a national food waste collection service, we also now collect the food waste from all our businesses which, in turn, is used to generate electricity. The food waste goes into regional anaerobic digestion facilities and the resulting methane gas is converted to electricity, sold on the National Grid. The digestate, or compost, that is left can also be used in fertiliser. Around 42,000 tonnes of food waste was collected from our restaurants and pubs in the last year and recycling it into electricity and fertiliser has saved around 6,786 tonnes of carbon.