Massachusetts supermarket breaks ground on AD system

By Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. LLC | April 23, 2015

The Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. LLC has announced the groundbreaking of the company’s first anaerobic digester at its distribution center in Freetown, Massachusetts. The state-of-the-art digester is part of the company’s long-term goal to divert 90 percent of waste going to landfills. As part of these sustainability efforts, Stop & Shop aims to donate and divert as much unsold food as possible, while helping those in the communities in which they serve.

The anaerobic digester, which broke ground on April 17, uses innovative technology to turn organic material into clean, sustainable power. Food from stores that goes unsold, or is unable to be donated to regional food banks or local farms, is transported to the distribution center. Then, by recreating the natural process of anaerobic digestion (an organically occurring water purification system found in wetlands) carbon in the organic material is cleanly and efficiently converted into a biogas and used as a power source.

“We are excited to begin the groundbreaking of this facility, as it’s a clear proof point of our commitment to reducing waste across our supply chain,” said Jihad Rizkallah vice president of responsible retailing for Ahold USA. “Once operational, the anaerobic digester will create approximately 1.25 megawatts of clean, based load electricity, which would offset up to 40 percent of the Freetown facility’s energy use. This is just one of the ways we strive to be a better neighbor, and a responsible retailer in the communities we serve.”

Stop & Shop continues its efforts to reduce waste in stores and divert safe, consumable food to area food banks through its Meat The Needs Program. Through this program, Stop & Shop safely freezes, and then donates protein rich meat that is pulled from sale before its sell-by date to food banks.

“We are so fortunate to partner with Stop & Shop on this program as protein is a much needed staple for our network of food pantries and the individuals and families they help,” said Jean McMurray, executive director of the Worcester County Food Bank. Since the implementation of the program Stop & Shop has donated 716,624 pounds of meat.”

With “Meat the Needs,” Ahold USA and its retail divisions donated more than $30 million in 2014 to regional food bank partners, 85 percent of which would otherwise been thrown away.

The digester is anticipated to begin full operation by the first quarter of 2016.