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Stop & Shop, Wegmans turn food waste into energy

Stop & Shop, Wegmans turn food waste into energy

Stop & Shop announced it has broken ground on an anaerobic digester that will turn food scraps into energy at its distribution center in Freetown, Mass.

The retailer plans to transfer food waste and unsold food that cannot be donated to food banks or local farms to the anaerobic digester. Stop & Shop’s long-term goal is to divert 90% of waste going to landfills.

“We are excited to begin the groundbreaking of this facility, as it’s a clear proof point of our commitment to reducing waste across our supply chain,” Jihad Rizkallah, VP of responsible retailing for Stop & Shop parent Ahold USA, said in a press release. “Once operational, the anaerobic digester will create approximately 1.25 megawatts of clean, based load electricity, which would offset up to 40% of the Freetown facility’s energy use. This is just one of the ways we strive to be a better neighbor, and a responsible retailer in the communities we serve.”

Separately, Wegmans Food Markets announced it would begin a pilot in May to transfer food waste from four stores in Syracuse, N.Y., to anaerobic digesters on local farms through a partnership with Natural Upcycling.

Twelve Wegmans stores in Buffalo and the Greater Rochester area already are a part of this program. The retailer hopes to have 32 New York stores participating by early 2016.

Wegmans said it converted 2.5 million pounds of food scraps into energy in 2014.

Read more: SN, FMI set Sustainability Twitter Chat

“The real advantage of these partnerships is that the benefits are broadly shared,” Wegmans sustainability manager Jason Wadsworth said in a press release. “The process is easier, safer and more efficient for our people, it helps to reduce carbon emissions generated by landfills, helps farmers in our community achieve their sustainability goals, and creates a whole new business model for farmers and food waste haulers, adding jobs to our region. This is the very definition of sustainability and a project that the whole community can feel good about.”

The retailer produced a video explaining its food-waste-to-energy initiative:

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