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Loblaw Cos., Ltd. and Canadian biogas developer and operator StormFisher Biogas have agreed to convert all of the organic trimmings produced at Loblaw corporate grocery stores in southwestern Ontario into renewable energy at a new StormFisher renewable-energy facility in London, Ontario. According to Loblaw, it’s the first grocery retailer to collaborate StormFisher on turning organics into electricity.
The 47 Loblaw stores covered by the agreement are in the Windsor-to-Waterloo corridor of Ontario. They are expected to provide organics that can generate the same amount of electricity as that used by about 225 homes annually, thereby reducing over 300 tons of CO2 equivalent yearly.
“In 2008, Loblaw expanded its organic waste diversion program to include all our Ontario corporate stores, successfully decreasing the amount of organic waste ending up in landfills across Ontario and helping us to reach our 70 percent waste diversion target,” explained Mark Schembri, VP, store maintenance at Bramption, Ontario-based Loblaw. “The construction of the StormFisher facility in London supports Loblaw’s desire to continue sourcing additional infrastructure across the country to dispose of organics in an environmentally responsible fashion.”
The StormFisher facility, slated to begin operation in late 2010, will convert about 140,000 tons of organic materials from several agrifood producers into renewable energy through a process called anaerobic digestion. This is the same process the stomach employs to turn food into energy and is considered the most environmentally friendly way to use organic trimmings. The electricity created at the facility will be sold to the Ontario Power Authority and become part of the province’s electricity supply mix.
A subsidiary of George Weston, Ltd., Loblaw is Canada’s largest food distributor and a top provider of drugstore, general merchandise and financial products and services. With more than 1,000 corporate and franchised stores across Canada, Loblaw and its franchisees employ over 139,000 full-time and part-time employees.
StormFisher is developing biogas installations across North America that will produce electricity, natural gas and organic fertilizer while lowering landfill disposal and greenhouse gas emissions.