A leading food distributor and retailer recently announced a new clean energy initiative that would convert 55,000 tons of food waste annually into usable biogas to offset the costs of powering its 650,000 square foot distribution center located in the Los Angeles area.
Kroger operates nearly 2,500 supermarkets in 31 states across the country, and their new partnership with FEED Resource Recovery, Inc. will help chip away at the estimated 66 billion pounds of food waste that enters landfills each year in the U.S.
The Benefits of Anaerobic Digestion
Anaerobic digestion is a naturally occurring process in nature, but the technology at Kroger’s distribution facility will be able to speed up the process significantly. It will handle about 300,000 pounds of organic food waste that is not suitable for supermarket shelves or donation to area food pantries.
Here are some of the key benefits of Kroger’s new clean energy initiative:
- Methane gas produced during the anaerobic digestion process will offset about 20% of Kroger’s L.A. distribution center’s energy needs and about 95% of its natural gas needs.
- Saves more than 500,000 diesel truck miles by not having to truck the food waste off to landfills.
- Reduces greenhouse gas emissions and total waste entering area landfills.
- 18.5% return on investment for Kroger.
- The process produces organic fertilizer for local farmers, essentially putting the food back into nature where it first started. It’s a closed-loop process.
- Part of the anaerobic digestion process purifies the waste water for safe return back to the environment.
- Zero-odor process.
Food Scraps Should No Longer Be Viewed as Waste
Food waste can really be looked upon as a renewable resource, even on a small scale.
Companies like Kroger are starting to realize the many benefits of treating waste as a renewable source. It’s a trend that’s likely to continue as landfill space becomes increasingly limited and as a push toward cleaner energy production takes hold across the nation.