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KFCs Recycle Used Cooking Oil

A KFC franchisee based in Iowa is using a recycling system from Restaurant Technologies Inc. to dispose of and replace fryer oil from his restaurants.

Kevin Schlutz, president of Central Iowa KFC, is now using RTI’s Total Oil Management system at his restaurants. The closed-loop system comprises two tanks – one for fresh oil, and a second for waste oil – and a secure fill box mounted to the restaurant’s exterior. RTI regularly takes away the waste grease, which is uses to create biodiesel and animal feedstock, and delivers fresh oil to the restaurant.

The system automates KFC oil handling, maintaining oil at peak freshness and making the handling process safer and more efficient, RTI says. Operators add, filter and dispose of oil – even while hot – without touching a drop. RTI says its system also eliminates cardboard and plastic packaging containers, reduces environmental contamination and cuts down on residual oil waste.

Schultz describes oil management as “vital” to his company’s operations. Using the system Shultz can now remotely check which locations are using too much shortening and see which are not discarding enough.

“Employees no longer need to waste time ordering shortening or scrambling when not enough is in stock. Real-time reporting notifies central managers before they even know it,” he says.

RTI says that the system also increases worker safety. KFC fryer operators previously had to pour oil from jugs into fryers. The heavy jugs, hot grease and slick floors were a recipe for employee back strains, falls and burns. They also used traditional “grease shuttles” for used oil disposal.

Eliminating the “grease shuttle” removes a kitchen safety hazard. Because KFC doesn’t buy and discard oil jugs and boxes, franchisees avoid storage headaches and improve restaurant cleanliness. Eliminating oil packaging waste also supports the KFC sustainability initiative, RTI says.

In October 2010, KFC began rolling out a reusable side container to restaurants across the country that it said was the first consumer reusable food container in the fast food industry. The 100-percent polypropylene container and lid, which is made of the same material used in leading retail food storage containers, replaces the fast food restaurant’s former single-use expanded polystyrene version for side dishes. The clear bowl with a red lid embossed with “reusable” is also microwaveable and top-rack dishwasher safe.

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