The Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. opened a Green Energy Facility in Freetown, Mass. The facility will convert inedible food from its Stop & Shop New England stores into energy that will help power the company’s distribution center in Freetown.
The Stop & Shop Green Energy Facility is expected to process an average of 95 tons of inedible food per day, an estimated 34,000 tons per year. As the food breaks down, it produces gas that fuels a generator that, in turn, generates electricity. The energy produced by the 12,000-sq.-ft. facility will provide up to 40% of the 1.1 million sq.-ft. Freetown distribution center’s energy needs, enough power to operate the facility for four months. Once fully operational, the facility will create approximately 1.25 megawatts of clean electricity.
“As a responsible retailer, one of our top priorities is reducing our environmental footprint, specifically through the conversion of food that would otherwise go into a landfill,” said Mark McGowan, president of Stop & Shop New England Division. “As part of doing business, our stores generate inedible food that cannot be donated. This inedible food will now be sent to our Green Energy Facility where it will be converted into clean energy and used as a power source for our distribution facility.”
212 Stop & Shop New England Stores Power the Green Energy Facility
The Green Energy Facility houses an anaerobic digester, which uses innovative technology to turn organic material into sustainable power. Inedible food products from all of Stop & Shop New England’s 212 stores that cannot be sold or donated to regional food banks or local farms is transported to the Green Energy Facility. Then, by recreating the naturally occurring process of anaerobic digestion, carbon in the organic material is converted into a biogas and used as a power source. The process is carried out in a contained, oxygen-free area, which does not produce any odors.
A $400,000 grant was provided by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center for the creation of the facility.
“Stop & Shop and its parent company, Ahold USA, are committed to energy efficiency and environmental stewardship, with a goal to achieve zero waste companywide by 2020, “said Marissa Nelson, SVP of Responsible Retailing and Healthy Living for Ahold USA. “The Stop & Shop Green Energy Facility is a perfect example of our ongoing efforts to be greener in our operations.”
Other environmental initiatives of the retailer include:
- Stop & Shop diverts 88% of waste to someplace other than a landfill–through donations, recycling, composting and now the Green Energy Facility.
- Stop & Shop recycles enough cardboard to save over 1.8 million trees yearly.
- Stop & Shop’s better bagging methods have saved enough plastic bags to circle the earth three times.
- All Stop & Shop stores offer more than 200 sustainable seafood products.
- Stop & Shop partnered with the EPA and other organizations to improve energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gases, and decrease air pollution.
- New Stop & Shop stores have daylighting, T5 fluorescent lighting, and refrigeration systems with high-efficiency fan motors. The stores use automatic occupancy sensors, reflective roofs that reduce heat absorption during the summer, and systems that curb electric power during peak demand times.
In 2015, Stop & Shop donated more than $12 million in product and cash to food banks and hunger relief organizations throughout New England.