UK supermarket giant Sainsbury's has now created the first outlet in the country to be powered solely through organic waste products.
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Supermarkets are one of the worst offenders for food waste — not only do their pricing structures encourage consumers to buy more than they need, but they also throw away perfectly edible goods if they don't look aesthetically appealing or have gone past their sell by date. While the Department of Sanitation New York has recently introduced a scheme that uses the city's leftover food to power homes, UK supermarket giant Sainsbury's has now created the first outlet in the country to be powered solely through food waste.
Collaborating with waste recycling company Biffa, the company has developed a facility close to its Cannock, West Midlands store that has enabled it to leave the grid completely. Like many other supermarkets, the outlet marks down any fruit and vegetable products at the end of the day if they're no longer good to sell. However, if they're still not sold they're handed over to charitable organizations that can still use it, or used to create animal feed. If it's not suitable for any of that, the food waste is picked up from a nearby Sainsbury's depot by Biffa, which uses its anaerobic digestion facility to turn the waste into electricity. A 1.5km cable is then used to send the energy — enough to power day-to-day operation of a store — back to the Cannock outlet.
The partnership means that the store is the first in the country to be powered solely by food waste. Supermarket operators — could you reduce your carbon footprint using similar methods?