Supermarket Waitrose is sending food waste from 100 of its stores to be processed by anaerobic digestion (AD) and generate enough energy to power around 200 homes.
The food waste is collected from stores and processed in AD plants owned by BiogenGreenfinch, where the material is broken down by micro-organisms and transformed into green electricity. A digestate fertiliser which is produced as part of the process is used on local crops.
Waitrose recycling and waste manager Arthur Sayer said: “AD is the preferred route for us to correctly dispose of food waste. It has the combined merits of preventing methane gas from entering the atmosphere, producing renewable energy and, most importantly, eliminating the need to send food waste to landfill.
“We were the first UK food retailer to begin using AD back in 2008, and are delighted to have made significant carbon savings by extending its use over the past two years so that it’s now used by 100 of our shops.”
BiogenGreenfinch chief executive Richard Barker added: “We hope that other food producers will take inspiration from what Waitrose is doing.”
Waitrose has also launched a ‘food to fuel’ technology in all its dining areas at its headquarters in Bracknell, Berkshire.