Food waste’s set to power up our homesBy Mike Pyle
February 24, 2010
An upmarket supermarket giant is using innovative technology to convert wasted food into electricity.
Waitrose, which has its HQ in the Southern Industrial Area, has extended its pioneering Food To Fuel technology to all its Berkshire stores, including the shop in Yorktown Road, Sandhurst.
It has won a top award for the operation in which it will now convert all biodegradable waste into electricity using a process called anaerobic digestion.
Food waste is taken away by a firm called Cawleys which takes it to a plant in Bedford where it uses bacteria and micro-organisms to convert the food into a methane-rich gas which is turned into electricity and goes back into the National Grid to power homes.
John Cawley, managing director of Cawleys, said: “Waitrose has pioneered the use of anaerobic digestion in the retail market, showing that retailers can make positive environmental changes at all stages in the food chain, treating food waste management as seriously as food sourcing.”
The Doncastle Road-based chain was given the ‘best retail or commercial food waste recycler’ award at the Association for Organics Recycling Awards last Thursday in recognition of the work Waitrose has done with anaerobic digestion since 2008.
Waitrose recycling and waste manager Arthur Sayer said: “We work to reduce the amount of waste we produce as it’s not in our business interest to produce any waste at all.
“Inevitably though, some food waste does occur and anaerobic digestion has proven to be a sustainable way of eliminating the need to send it to landfill, reducing our impact on the environment and creating renewable energy along the way.”