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Sainsbury's Cannock Superstore to Be Powered Solely by Food Waste

Image credit: National Glaceau/Flickr

UK grocery giant Sainsbury’s has partnered with Biffa, one of the leading waste-management companies in the UK, on an innovative facility that will allow Sainsbury’s Cannock superstore to run on power generated solely from the supermarket’s own food waste.

Thanks to Biffa’s advanced anaerobic digestion (AD) facilities and a unique power link-up, Sainsbury’s says its Cannock store will be powered using electricity generated using food waste from Sainsbury’s stores across the UK. This groundbreaking project helps to close the loop on food recycling and Sainsbury’s goal to continue to send zero operational waste to landfill.

How it works

  • Any food waste that is unsuitable for charitable donations or animal feed is collected from Sainsbury’s supermarkets around the UK and sent to anaerobic digestion at Biffa’s plant in Cannock to be converted to 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 its day-to-day electricity consumption

Sainsbury’s, which aims to be the UK’s greenest grocer, is no stranger to innovative waste-diversion strategies. The company says it is already the UK’s largest retail user of anaerobic digestion, generating enough energy to power 2,500 homes each year. In June 2013, the chain announced it had achieved its 20x20 sustainability target of putting all its store waste to positive use — and diverting it from landfill — seven years early. And in November, Sainsbury’s opened its second of two “triple zero” stores, which produce zero carbon emissions from all on-site energy used, send zero waste to landfill and have zero impact on the water usage of the local catchment areas because of their water-neutral status.


Jennifer Elks is Managing Editor at Sustainable Brands. She is a writer, editor and foodie who is passionate about improving food systems, closing loops and creating more livable cities. She loves cooking, wine, cooking with wine, correcting spelling errors in… [Read more about Jennifer Elks]


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