Grocery Store Runs On Electricity Generated By Its Own Food Waste

It’s the ciiiiiiircle, the circle of life, but instead of a cartoon lion there’s a grocery store running on electricity generated by the same food waste that store creates. More recycling, fewer anthropomorphic talking animals, but it’s a circle… of science.

The Sainsbury superstore in Staffordshire, England is reportedly the first time a retailer in that country has come off the National Grid to power a store, reports the BBC.

The store already sends all its food waste to an anaerobic digestion plant, which basically feeds the garbage to bacteria that break down the food in many steps, producing primarily carbon dioxide and methane gas, explains Popular Science.

The methane is separated from the carbon dioxide and turned into biomethane gas, which is then used to generate electricity. A 1.5-kilometer-long cable carries the electricity back to the store.

“Sainsbury’s sends absolutely no waste to landfill and we’re always looking for new ways to re-use and recycle,” the head of sustainability at Sainsbury’s told the BBC. “We’re delighted to be the first business ever to make use of this link-up technology, allowing our Cannock store to be powered entirely by our food waste.”

Food waste is a big problem all over the world – 141 trillion calories food are wasted every year in just the United States, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

Sainsbury’s store powered by food waste [BBC]
U.K. Supermarket To Run On Electricity Made From Its Own Rotting Food [Popular Science]

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  1. Mokona512 says:

    If a grocery store is making enough food waste that it can be used to generate a reasonable amount of electricity, then it means that they are running a bad business where the food is so overpriced that non sale items are expiring and being throws out. (happened at one local grocery store in my area, they consistently charged more than most other stores, and generated a ton of trash from throwing out food that no one purchased.

    Another owner eventually bought the property, and is not continuing the same business model but with a little less ripping off where sales are acceptable deals and regular priced item are priced 2-3 times above what a store like walmart would charge.

    Overall, it is a wasteful model where stores overcharge for the food, and then when they notice that they are not selling enough food and a lot of it is going in the trash, they raise the prices further to cover the cost of the food they throw out, instead of tackling the root cause of the food being overpriced.

  2. Ravensclawth says:

    I like the idea, assuming that they are not generating more (or much more) waste than a standard grocery. But it says they send absolutely nothing to the landfill. What do they do with their non-organic waste, such as inks, plastic, metal, etc?