converting it to biogas, which in turn runs a generator that creates the
electricity,” says Marissa Nelson, senior vice president of responsible
retailing and healthy living at Ahold USA, based in Quincy, Mass.
Ground was broken on the Green Energy Facility, the first of its kind
on the East Coast according to Ahold USA officials, in April 2015, with
the first pilot test of stores conducted in January/February of this year.
Built on a corner of the 1.1 million square-foot warehouse, the Green
Energy Facility has the look of a mini oil refinery, with its series of large
tanks connected by elevated pipelines.
“We worked really closely with Eversource,” Nelson says. “Plus a lot
of state and federal agencies helped us because this was a first of its
kind, especially in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, where it is
new ground. We received a lot of help about getting the right permits,
etc. Eversource coming to the table to assist us really helped us out. It
has been a great partnership.”
Government can help the industry by examining the infrastruc-
ture that is available for diverting food waste away from landfills and
promoting more productive uses, Harig says. “Tax incentives, grants
and education directed at building out this infrastructure could play a
major role in helping states and localities build out the kind of facilities
necessary to make a true dent in food waste sent to landfill.”
Tax incentives were key in helping Stop & Shop with its digester.
“We did get some tax credits that frankly were quite helpful, or we
would have had to think differently about going forward with this,”
Nelson says. However, the advantages definitely outweighed the costs.
“We are delivering as far as energy reduction. We just had our second
quarter numbers and saw a nice reduction in our Freetown energy consumption,” she says.
By May, the digester was handling the organic waste from the entire
New England Division.
“We are running non-stop right now, 24 hours a day, seven days a
week, with a few hours taken out for maintenance and cleaning,”
says Reuben Zacharakus-Jutz, Green Energy Facility plant manager
for Divert, the Concord, Mass.-based firm that built and operates the
digester for Stop & Shop.
Each Ahold USA store has a dedicated “Green Captain” employee
whose tasks include monitoring recycling and waste reduction efforts
at store level, including food bank donations. Nelson notes that the
Green Energy Facility has not impacted Stop & Shop’s food donations,
which are still first priority, although it may have cut into organic waste
diverted to pig farmers.
The digester has made work easier for store employees who in the past
had to manually open and separate plastic packaging from the organic
At Stop & Shop’s Green Energy Facility, organic waste matter is fed into a hopper and
goes through a series of processes to create electricity and an end result of compost.