Wegmans is piloting a program to convert food waste from its stores into energy.
Its Alberta Drive store, along with 11 stores in the Rochester area, sends food scraps trucked by collection company Natural Upcycling to two partner farms, Lawnhurst Farms in Stanley or Noblehurst Farms in Linwood. Those food scraps – fruit rinds, vegetable trimmings, floral stems, foods from damaged packages, coffee grounds and broken eggs – which might otherwise be thrown away, are put into a machine on the farm called a biodigester. The machine breaks the scraps down into methane gas, which is converted to electricity used by the farms – enough to power 400 homes for a year. Any compost left over is used as cow bedding. More than 2.5 million pounds of food were converted to energy last year.
Wegmans will roll the program out to four Syracuse stores in May, and to 20 more by early 2016.
Wegmans also recycles 18 million pounds of food per year, equivalent to 400 truckloads, by turning it into compost or animal feed.