What do you do when your grocery business generates 55,000 tons of food waste every year – the leftovers from the store aisles that aren’t either sold or donated? If you’re Kroger, the largest supermarket chain in the U.S., you build an anaerobic digester to convert all that food to usable energy.

Kroger has built a new facility in Compton, California, and it now receives food waste from over 350 Southern California supermarkets, converting it into energy and electricity which powers an adjacent half-million square foot distribution center. Every year, the facility will produce 13 million kilowatt-hours of electricity. An additional by-product is organic fertilizer, enough to feed 8,000 acres of soil per year. And not only is Kroger converting food to fuel, but the conversion is reducing the impact on landfills and eliminating the parade of diesel trucks to and from those landfills.

Check out this fascinating walk-through of the facility. For a more in-depth description of the system, I’ve committed Kroger’s Kip Selby to speak at this year’s ICSC RetailGreen Conference in Phoenix. Full disclosure: he’s not only an energy wizard and great speaker, Kip is my brother. Second full disclosure: it’s going to be a fabulous presentation.

Topics: Retail, Sustainability