Thanks to cutting-edge technology, 95 tons of food waste that can't be sold or donated is being converted to energy by Stop & Shop, a New England-based grocery chain. The waste is collected daily from all Stop & Shop locations that aren't on islands, and then processed at a new green facility using a method called anaerobic digestion.
Stop & Shop has worked on this facility for six or seven years, which helps the company attain its goal of being landfill-free by 2020. The facility saves this food from the landfill, and as of right now, Stop & Shop has achieved 88 percent of that goal.
Plus, Stop & Shop's effort runs parallel to a Connecticut goal to reduce its contribution of solid waste to landfills by 2024. A key to that goal is recycling organics through compost facilities and anaerobic digesters like Stop & Shop's new plant.
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The facility, which opened April 15, generates 1.14 megawatts each day, roughly 40 percent of the energy required by the next-door distribution center. Plans to build additional facilities in Connecticut are underway.
Stop & Shop spokesperson Phil Tracey said that the facility was certainly a "significant investment" for the company. It was, nevertheless, an investment in the environment, he added, and "important in us getting to our goal [of being landfill-free]."