Marks & Spencer Converts Food Waste Biogas

Marks & Spencer has signed a deal with waste management company Shanks Group to convert the retailer’s food waste to biogas that will produce enough renewable energy to power 33 M&S Simply Food stores.

Under the power purchase agreement, M&S will send its food waste to Shanks’ 60ktpa anaerobic digestion plant in Cumbernauld, Glasgow. The plant is a joint venture with Energen Biogas.

The plant will convert the food waste into biogas and digestate, used as a nutrient-rich soil conditioner. M&S will purchase about 19,000 MWh per year of electricity from the AD plant.

This latest renewable energy agreement will help M&S maintain two targets — procuring 100 percent renewable electricity and sending zero waste to landfill — says Giacinto Patellaro, head of Energy Supply & Risk at M&S.

These sustainability goals are part of M&S’ Plan A, which outlines 180 environmentally friendly and ethical targets. In its 2012 How We Do Business Report, M&S said it has achieved 138 of them, and says it’s on schedule to meet another 30 targets. The remaining 12 commitments are either behind schedule or have not been achieved.

In addition to opening the Cumbernauld AD plant in October 2011, Shanks is building a 48ktpa AD plant in Bicester, Oxfordshire and has submitted a planning application to Torfaen County Borough Council to build a 90ktpa AD plant at its South Wales site in Pontypool.

Skanks says it has inked similar power purchase agreements with Unilever and Netherlands-based supermarket Albert Heijn, whose organic waste is treated at Shanks’ Greenmills AD plant near Amsterdam.

Earlier this week UK supermarket chain Waitrose announced it has achieved its target of sending zero food waste to landfill two months ahead of schedule by partnering with Cawleys to send food waste to the resource management company’s AD plant.

Also this week, Ikea announced its plan to become energy and resource independent by 2020, which includes constructing €1.5 billion ($2.4 billion) of wind and solar projects.

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