A 2008 report from the UK's Waste and Resources Action Programme found that 6.7 million metric tons of food waste went into landfills each year, resulting in 8 million metric tons of CO2 being emitted. Supermarket chain Sainsbury's no longer wants to be a part of the problem. The company plans to become waste-free by the end of the year, largely by sending their food waste to a biomass plant.
The chain's 28 Scotland stores will send 42 metric tons of waste to a biomass plant outside of Glasgow every week. The company claims that each metric ton of waste can power 500 homes, meaning enough electricity could be produced to power a 50,000-person town. The Scotland stores will begin sending their unsold food this month, with the rest of the stores thoughout the UK joining in by the summer.
Beyond just unsold food, the chain plans to keep all of their waste out of landfills by the end of the year. So far, no specific plan for diverting the non-food waste has been announced.
Biomass tends to get a little less publicity than solar or wind, but it's been a rapidly growing piece of the renewable energy pie. Some parts of the world are better suited for solar than others, but all parts of the world produce waste. I love that a company like Sainsbury's has figured out that their waste could be put to good use. There are many other companies that could be contributing to biomass plants instead of landfills. Let's hope they catch on soon.
written by Amy, January 27, 2009
written by cliffski, January 27, 2009
written by Guillaume, January 31, 2009
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