Sainsbury's turns its own expired food into electricity

Sainsbury's turns its own expired food into electricity

Image by Elliot Brown

Sainsbury's has today announced its Cannock, England store effectively will come off the national grid, following the installation of a direct link between the supermarket and a local anaerobic digestion plant.

The supermarket giant said that the move meant the store was being powered by the company's own food waste, cutting greenhouse gas emissions and waste costs in the process.

The project, which has been delivered in partnership with waste management giant Biffa, follows hot on the heels of the announcement that Sainsbury's has taken out a new $341 million "green" loan to finance sustainability improvements across its estate.

The move further strengthens Sainsbury's existing zero waste to landfill policy, which already sees it donate suitable food to charities or ensure that it is used for animal feed. The remaining food waste is sent to the Cannock anaerobic digestion plant, where it produces enough low-carbon power for 2,500 homes a year. However, the new addition of a dedicated 1.5km electricity cable to the Cannock store means the company is now able to directly use its own green power.

"Sainsbury's sends absolutely no waste to landfill and we're always looking for new ways to reuse and recycle," said Paul Crewe, head of sustainability at the company. "So we're delighted to be the first business ever to make use of this linkup technology, allowing our Cannock store to be powered entirely by our food waste."

Jeff Anderson, managing director of Biffa's I&C division, said the partnership underlined the attractiveness of anaerobic digestion technology to business customers.

"Biffa has provided Sainsbury's with a food collection and processing service for many years," he said. "By converting food waste to renewable energy, [Biffa] demonstrates our commitment to innovation and the environment. Biffa has a national network of dedicated food collection vehicles providing services for large and smaller customers."

Top image of Sainsbury's store by Elliott Brown via Flickr. This article first appeared at BusinessGreen.