Waste Not
Kroger Converting Food Waste to Clean Energy To Power Compton Distribution Center

The Kroger Co. this month unveiled a clean energy production system that will convert food that cannot be sold or donated into energy to help power its Ralphs/Food 4 Less distribution center in Compton.

The Kroger Recovery System utilizes anaerobic digestion, a naturally occurring process, to convert more than 55,000 tons of organic food waste into renewable energy annually and provide power for the over 650,000 square foot distribution center. By diverting the food waste — equivalent to 150 tons per day — the system will also reduce area truck trips by more than 500,000 miles each year. The system uses a sophisticated process to convert the carbon in organic material into a renewable source of methane.

"We are committed to finding solutions for food waste and clean energy, and we believe this is a meaningful step forward," said Rodney McMullen, President and COO, The Kroger Co. "Investing in this project is a good business decision for Kroger and, most importantly, an extraordinary opportunity to benefit the environment."

The company says the process is carried out in an enclosed, oxygen-free environment, which means the process takes up less space and generates no odors. The system will provide enough renewable biogas to offset more than 20 percent of the energy demand of the Ralphs/Food 4 Less distribution center. Combining the use of renewable energy power with more than 150 zero emission fuel cell forklifts, Kroger says its distribution center is now one of the greenest and most efficient in the country.

Last fall, UK supermarket chain Waitrose announced it had achieved its aim of sending zero food waste to landfill two months ahead of its end-of-2012 goal, partly due to its conversion of food waste to biogas through anaerobic digestion and in-vessel composting.

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