When you think about how often food in your fridge goes bad and needs to be thrown out, it’s easy to see how the issue of food waste would be amplified for places such as restaurants and supermarkets. It’s pretty common to see heavily discounted fresh food at the grocery store, because the store owner knows that if no one buys it today, it’s going in the trash tomorrow.
But throwing food out is such a waste, not just because it’s nourishment that could have otherwise gone to feed the homeless or animals, but also because all of the resources it takes to produce something like a slab of beef – the water, feed and energy that goes into producing and packaging the meat you can buy off the shelf – has also now been used completely without cause.
Using Food Waste and Bioenergy to Power Our Supermarkets
The supermarket chain Sainsbury’s realizes that throwing spoiled food out is a huge waste, and in attempt to make some use of out of the food that would otherwise end up in the trash has implemented an energy generator at one of their stores that is powered by bio-methane gas.
When rotten food breaks down, it produces bio-methane gas, which is captured by the energy generator, and in turn used to power the supermarket.
Sainsbury’s still recovers any food that is safe and edible and provides it to charities or farms, but that which can’t be safely consumed goes to a special plant about 1.5 km away from its store, where the rotting food is turned into energy and fed back to the store through a newly implemented cable. The store, located in Cannock, West Midlands in the UK, is going to be able to come completely off the grid for its day-to-day energy consumption thanks to the new bioenergy system in place, and now considers their energy production to be a “closed loop” process.
Hopefully, this is a trend that will be adopted by more supermarkets – or better yet, won’t need to be, because we will find a better solution to reduce food waste.