Fighting fatbergs throughlaundry

Miele Professional helps McDonald’s Restaurants tackle fatbergs and increase biofuel production by 20%.

Achieving a high standard of clean may be the primary purpose for most laundry equipment purchases, but did you know that there are many other benefits too?

It’s worth considering wider factors and requirements to make sure you’re getting the most out of your commercial washing machines. Do you have specific industry standards you need to adhere to? Could your laundry equipment help you meet environmental or sustainability targets? Or, is there potential for innovative thinking and design to bring wider benefits to your business?

McDonald’s Restaurants is one business that has found ways of getting much more than clean laundry from each wash cycle. In the UK it is working alongside Miele to help local authorities and water companies combat the creation of 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, the global foodservice retailer is adapting the washing machines used in every McDonald’s restaurant across the country to enable the extraction of grease and fats and minimise drainage issues and disruption to local communities.


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, the restaurants have also been able to increase their biofuel production.

McDonald’s Restaurants has been installing specialist grease recovery units (GRUs) for several years. However, a typical 85°C 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.

McDonald’s has worked alongside Miele for 15 years, the last 10 of which 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 limiting the lifecycle of non-Miele washers to just two years.

Miele has worked closely with McDonald’s Restaurants 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: “It’s been a privilege to work alongside McDonald’s Restaurants as their sole supplier of washing machines for the last 10 years. We have several exciting developments in the pipeline to further optimise the grease recovery process.”

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