The local Whole Foods Market store recently partnered with InSinkErator to implement a new Grind2Energy organics system that converts food waste into renewable energy.
The local natural and organic grocer installed the system to divert its food waste and create both renewable energy and beneficial fertilizer, with the install also helping the store to comply with an upcoming Massachusetts ban on commercial food waste disposal in landfills.
The landmark Massachusetts ruling will require any entity that disposes of more than one ton of organic waste per week to deliver it beginning Oct. 1 to either an anaerobic digestion plant for conversion to clean energy, a composting facility or an animal feed operation.
“At Whole Foods Market in Andover we want to continue to lead the way in terms of responsible food waste disposal and recycling. Also, with the statewide ban coming into effect, the Grind2Energy system allows us to be on the forefront of environmental sustainability practices in Massachusetts,” Karen Franczyk, green mission coordinator for Whole Foods Market North Atlantic region, said in a press release.
In the U.S., the average commercial kitchen produces more than 4,000 pounds of food waste each week, the release says. Traditionally, that waste is sent to a landfill where the food scraps emit methane — a potent greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere and is a major contributor to global warming.
As an alternative to landfills, the Grind2Energy organics recycling system converts food waste into a liquid slurry that is stored in an onsite storage tank. The “slurry” is then vacuumed from the tank and transported to a nearby anaerobic digestion facility. The methane released from the food waste is captured and transformed into renewable energy such as electricity, natural gas or even compressed natural gas, which can be used as vehicle fuel. The process also results in improved sanitation and odors, as well as prevention or elimination of pests, according to the release.