The Eco-Friendly Way Chick-Fil-A Plans To Reuse Its Cooking Oil

One of the country's top restaurant chains just took a big step towards a more environmentally-conscious future. In a press release, Chick-fil-A announced an innovative new partnership that will put its massive supplies of discarded cooking oil to good use. The fried chicken chain is teaming up with Darling Ingredients, a major producer of sustainable biofuel, to repurpose the fry oil used to cook its famed chicken sandwiches, chicken nuggets, and chicken strips into transportation fuel.

As the costs of traditional energy sources have risen in recent years, oil refineries and energy companies have increasingly turned to kitchen grease as a plentiful resource for making renewable diesel fuel (via The New York Times). Energy experts estimate that by 2025, up to 3.8 billion gallons of the renewable fuel could be produced each year. Renewable diesel produces between 50% and 80% less greenhouse gas emissions than standard diesel, offering a more environmentally-friendly form of fuel to corporations and individuals alike (via Biofuel News). Soon, the same ingredient used to give Chick-fil-A's crispy breaded chicken its golden brown sheen will be used to create massive amounts of this biofuel.

"At Chick-fil-A, we are committed to caring — and that includes caring for others through our food and caring for our planet," explained Rodney Bullard, Chick-fil-A's Vice President of corporate social responsibility. "Our innovative partnership with DAR PRO Solutions helps us be responsible stewards of the resources at our restaurants and allows us to support the future of renewable transportation fuel — all while positively influencing the communities we serve."

Chick-Fil-A's discarded grease will be used to make renewable fuel

The sustainable energy company DAR PRO Solutions – which is an offshoot of Darling Ingredients — is dedicated to transforming used cooking oil and inedible meat by-products from a range of industries into fuel. The company works with restaurants, hotels, supermarket chains, airports, theme parks, ghost kitchens, and casinos to provide efficient grease and by-product collection. 

Through its partnership with the fast food chain, DAR PRO will convert the used cooking oil from all U.S. and Canada-based Chick-fil-A restaurants into a renewable, cleaner burning transportation fuel. With the help of the chicken chain's fuel, Darling Ingredients is estimated to produce a whopping 700 million gallons of renewable diesel this year alone.

"We admire Chick-fil-A's commitment to reducing food waste and are proud to be part of a solution that keeps food waste out of our landfills while delivering a renewable fuel that reduces GHG emissions," Sandra Dudley, Darling Ingredient's Executive Vice President of Renewables and U.S. Specialty Operations, said in a statement.

So, the next time you swing by the chicken chain for waffle fries and a spicy chicken sandwich, you can rest assured that the waste from your fast food order will play a small part in creating a greener circular fuel economy, one order at a time.