Running on rubbish: Supermarket comes off national grid to be powered by food waste

INDUSTRY PARTNERS Biffa and Sainsbury’s are celebrating an innovative facility that will allow Sainsbury’s Cannock store to run on power generated solely from the supermarket’s own food waste.

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Using Biffa’s advanced anaerobic digestion facilities and a unique power link up, Sainsbury’s Cannock store will effectively come off the National Grid to be powered using electricity generated using food waste from Sainsbury’s stores across the UK.


This ground-breaking project helps to close the loop on food recycling and Sainsbury’s to continue to send zero operational waste to landfill.


How it works:


  • Sainsbury’s send zero operational waste to landfill.
  • All suitable food goes to our charity partners – sports groups, soup kitchens, charities etc (including flowers to care homes at our Cannock store)
  • Any food waste that is unsuitable for charitable donations or animal feed (for example waste bananas from our Precott Road store go to Knowsley safari park to feed the monkeys!) is sent to anaerobic digestion at Biffa to be converted to energy
  • This remaining food waste is collected from Sainsbury’s supermarkets around the UK using Sainsbury’s delivery lorries. It is returned to Biffa’s plant in Cannock
  • The food waste is turned into bio-methane gas, which is then used to generate electricity at the Biffa plant
  • Electricity for Sainsbury’s Cannock store is directly supplied to the supermarket via a newly constructed new 1.5km long electricity cable
  • The new power supply – built in partnership with Biffa – means the Cannock store will come off the National Grid for day to day electricity consumption
  • Sainsbury’s is already the UK’s largest retail user of anaerobic digestion, generating enough energy to power 2,500 homes each year


Paul Crewe, Head of Sustainability at Sainsbury’s said: “Sainsburys sends absolutely no waste to landfill and we’re always looking for new ways to reuse and recycle. So we’re delighted to be the first business ever to make use of this linkup technology, allowing our Cannock store to be powered entirely by our food waste.”


Jeff Anderson, Managing Director of Biffa’s I&C division, said: “Biffa has provided Sainsbury’s with a food collection and processing service for many years. By converting food waste to renewable energy demonstrates our commitment to innovation and the environment. Biffa has a national network of dedicated food collection vehicles providing services for large and smaller customers.”