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McDonald's Garbage Heats and Lights Buildings in British City

A city in Britain and a U.S.-based fast food chain are teaming up to cut carbon emissions as well as save energy and space in the local landfill.

Some 130 buildings in the City of Sheffield are now being powered by McDonald's hamburgers. Eleven of the company's restaurants are taking part in a program that turns their garbage into light and heat. And McDonald's states each restaurant willl avoid sending 100 tons of waste to Sheffield's landfills every year. VOA's Mandy Clark reports from Sheffield.

The Golden Arches in Britain are going Green.

One busy McDonald's restaurant may seems like any other. Hamburgers and fries feed the hungry lunch crowd. But at one the food that customers cannot quite finish will be made into fuel of a different kind -- electricity and heating for local buildings.

Franchise owner Duncan Taylor says he's proud of the initiative. "It is important that we all take little steps, this maybe a little step in a global perspective, but it is a positive step. We are saving significant carbon emissions to the atmosphere."

The Sheffield pilot project ensures none of the restaurants' rubbish goes to landfills.

Instead a truck is taking the day's refuse to the city's Energy Recovery Facility, where it is then incinerated and converted into electricity -- powering hospitals, City Hall, galleries, and theatres.

The restaurants involved are also experimenting with other energy saving technology, including solar panels, wind power, and efficient lighting.

The Carbon Trust -- a government-funded independent company -- will calculate the impact of this project on the environment. But company officials say it is too early now to tell.

Some Sheffield citizens are skeptical about McDonald's motives but supportive of the idea. A few citizens had these comments:

"I think it is a good idea but maybe they are doing it to get good publicity and change their image around."

"I think it will do a lot for their reputation because, at the moment, they are getting a lot of bad publicity about obesity issues."

"If they are providing food for the nation and the world, if they are trying to help in other ways like recycling the rubbish, it's a good scheme [plan] for the whole world, I believe."

And, if the project proves successful here, McDonald's hopes to expand the efforts to its other restaurants across Britain.