Chip Fat Fuel Unhealthy For The Environment Says Report

Wed 21st Apr 2021

Hailed by many as a greener alternative to fossil fuels, cooking oil is under attack from environmental campaigners as it could be leading to deforestation around the world.

Many haulage firms have turned to so-called biofuel alternatives to go greener, primarily because the crops used to create the vegetable oil can be re-grown and will absorb CO2 as part of the process. Some companies, such as McDonalds, even boast about the fact that they using vegetable oil to fuel their delivery trucks, but a report from green transport campaign group Transport & Environment has pointed out that the UK’s thirst for biofuel is exceeding supply and this has led to oil being imported from around the world.

According to the T&E analysis, the UK now imports 224million tonnes of cooking oil from China, and another 49million from Malaysia. The practice has seen those countries sending the more expensive vegetable oil to the UK, while they use the cheaper palm alternative themselves, however palm oil requires deforestation.

“Countries that would use used cooking oils for animal feed and other products are exporting to the UK and using cheap oil, like palm, at home. The UK government should scrap its plan to push up demand for biofuels, including used cooking oil, to avoid fuelling deforestation,' says T&E's UK director Greg Archer.

“The UK's increasing thirst for used cooking oil to power transport is 15 times more than can be supplied from British deep fat fryers.
“This leaves us reliant on used oil being shipped from the other side of the world.
“At this moment we cannot be certain that used cooking oil is actually used. We therefore need to be careful of relying on dubious imports from countries like Malaysia that are huge producers of palm oil. 

“For the waste oil that it does import, the UK should strengthen its verification and monitoring requirements along the supply chain and do regular checks to make sure it is really a waste product. Otherwise we will end up doing more harm than good.”