Supermarket's New Power Source: Its Expired Food
'Digestion plant' will turn rotten food into bio-gas
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 23, 2014 9:48 AM CDT
Old food will keep the lights on at the Sainsbury's in Cannock, Staffordshire.   (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

(Newser) – Food in a British supermarket too rotten to be sold is still being digested—by a plant that turns it into electricity to power the store. The Sainsbury's store says it's the first retail outlet in the country to remove itself from the national power grid, receiving electricity directly from a nearby anaerobic digestion plant that turns food waste from Sainsbury's outlets into bio-gas, the BBC reports. "Sainsbury's sends absolutely no waste to landfill and we're always looking for new ways to re-use and recycle," a company spokesman says.

At the digestion plant, expired food is placed in tanks and digested by bacteria that thrive without oxygen, breaking the food down into methane gas which is used to generate power, explains Popular Science, which notes that anaerobic digestion plants are planned for numerous US cities and the Kroger grocery chain has a distribution plant partly powered by old food. And there is plenty of room for expansion of the effort: More than a billion tons of food are wasted every year, with people in North America and Europe wasting around 220 pounds each, the Smithsonian finds. (A restaurant in Chicago, however, has managed to limit its waste to just 8 gallons in two years.)

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Supermarket's New Power Source: Its Expired Food is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 13 comments
Jul 26, 2014 2:38 PM CDT
Since the landfill they dug near my house thirty years ago is now a sizeable HILL, I heartily applaud this notion.
Very Angry
Jul 24, 2014 6:39 AM CDT
Do they use the same technique when they fire staff?
Jul 24, 2014 1:04 AM CDT
Why has it taken so long for us to recycle everything? But there is so much more to do. The waste that goes to the landfills is shameful.