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Supermarket Becomes the First to be Powered by Food Waste

July 22, 2014

A Sainsbury’s store in Staffordshire has become the first retail outlet in the UK to come off the National Grid and rely entirely on food waste to provide its power.

The retail giant already has an established network that sees stores throughout the country deliver food waste which cannot be donated to charity or turned into animal feed to the Biffa anaerobic digestion plant in Cannock. The plant then turns the waste into electricity which is fed into the National Grid. By using a 1.5km cable, electricity is also now transferred directly to power the local Sainbury’s superstore. The project took two years of planning, but is now likely to open the door for other retailers to follow suit.

Richard Swannell, a director at the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), the government funded body set up to promote recycling and sustainable business practice, believes there is already capacity for many more projects. “There are now 60 AD plants recycling food waste, which can process up to 2.5 million tonnes of food waste per year and generate enough renewable electricity to power a city three times the size of Cannock,” he said.

Food waste is a growing issue in the UK, with figures suggesting households threw away 4.2 million tonnes of food and drink worth £12.5 billion in 2013.