At its distribution centre at Brackmills, Northamptonshire, leading retailer John Lewis is turning waste cooking oil from its in-store restaurants into eco-friendly biodiesel which it is using to power  a Jungheinrich counterbalanced forklift truck.

The oil is collected directly from shop stores by John Lewis’s own delivery vehicles and brought back to the Northampton DC where it undergoes the chemical process that makes it suitable for use as a fuel.

The truck – which is mainly employed to undertake a range of general yard duties such as sorting, stacking and unloading wooden pallets and other packaging materials –  features a Volkswagen engine approved for the use of biofuel.

In total John Lewis operates a fleet of over 70 Jungheinrich forklifts at the Brackmills Distribution Centre. Trucks in the fleet include VNA order pickers, reach and pallet trucks as well as counterbalanced forklifts. The majority of the fleet is electric-powered.

“We take our corporate environmental responsibility seriously and are committed to recycling 75 per cent of all the waste we produce across our group by 2012,” says Lawrence Ireson, maintenance manager at John Lewis’s Brackmills site. “Converting waste cooking oil into fuel forms a small part of this commitment. We have been using a biodiesel blend in our transport fleet for some time so it seemed natural to use the same fuel in our Jungheinrich ic-engine-powered counterbalanced truck.”

John Lewis’s Brackmills DC stocks a range of different merchandise for delivery to stores from Aberdeen to Southampton.

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