How Kroger Produce Organic Electricity by using Unsold Organics?

Waste is a bad thing:

In our daily life, we normally waste a lot. We throw things away and waste them but do not reuse them even if they can be reused. We do not use thing again if they look old fashioned, a little fade.  Everyone one know that wasting is a bad thing but still we do not act upon it when it comes to practical life. It’s a human nature to waste things but now there should be a little awareness. It’s time to change and make awareness regarding recycling things. Kroger is actually working on such program and trying to reduce wasting of products and bringing the recycling and reusing trends to the world.

Who is Reyan?

Technology plays an important role in recycling. It has become impossible to live without technologies now a days. Kroger started working on recycling and helped to stop wasting products. Reyan along his team worked with Kroger and starting opening ways to stop wasted food as it cannot be served to others and neither be donated. He is always against of wasting and always thought where this household waste will go when it fills up to the land. As they also threw their garbage on the land. So he decided to find out the solution.

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Reverse Logistics:

His theme and goal of life is to do productivity by using science and technology and make the world a better place. He studied Electrical Engineering and started working on processes for creating energy by pulling apart water molecules. At start he worked for an established company and used his abilities and refined his engineering skills. Lately he joined a small group and came up with an idea of turning organic material into energy. Immediately he started collecting trash and organics from supermarkets. His goal was to eliminate all the trash so he started working on it. They began with a model and placed small digester or processors behind the grocery stores but it proved to be more expensive and inefficient. The process became more difficult than it would be s they never wanted to make store’s employees jobs more difficult and create extra work for them. So, FEED started focusing on a process called “reverse Logistics,” or “backhauling.” Reverse logistics refers to a process by which unused goods, materials, and products are moved away from their usual destinations (in many cases this means the landfill) and instead resold, reused or recycled. Grocers such as Ralphs / Food4Less operated by Kroger and others used reverse logistics have to recycle unsold organics. Ralph’s waste was collecting and shipped to composting facilities in Northern California before FEED reached them. The aim will be to centralize this process and create a streamlined mechanism for the capture and use of unsold organics.

What are Unsold Organics?

Unsold organics are those items that are not sold on time, remained on the back of the grocery store, get expire and cannot be donated. Over the years, Kroger’s involvement with local food banks and catering firms has doubled. For e.g., if you have a jar that holds any of the strawberries, the government would not approve the selling of these strawberries because of food safety concerns. They do not head out in front of the supermarket and do not run to the nearest food bank. Stale bread, wilted lettuce, overripe bananas, these get culled and thrown in a bin and will go to the landfill.

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How FEED works?

Therefore, for FEED, their first and foremost step is to make people understand to change the vocabulary used for the project. Some people just call it garbage,” says Ryan, “but it’s really unsold food. It’s about introducing people to the concept that they can save money and resources and actually create energy by rethinking resource management.” After positive conversations and successful piloting, things started falling into place. But for this purpose you need a strong internal stakeholder to make this happen so one of those stakeholders from Kroger was Mike Vriens. Mike saw the opportunity and began to drive us to comply with his problems. Mike knows trade, the dynamics and the value of making economic choices. The concept was tested, perfected and then eventually passed to senior management at Kroger over a one-year cycle. Kroger and FEED had the idea to collaborate on the Ralphs campus, a very unheard of initiative, with their very own Anaerobic Digester. In Europe and Asia, anaerobic digesters are very common but they only start catching in America. In this vacuum, Kroger chose to be a leader.

What is an Anaerobic Digester and how does Kroger’s work?

  • Unsold organics are collected from all the centers by using bins and brought to the Digester by the trucks.
  • There is a processor on the front end of the Digester that liquefied the organics and screen out inorganic materials.
  • The liquefied organic slurry is slowly fed into the bowels of the Digester along with reused process water from Ralphs’ creamery.
  • All of that microbial flatulence builds up and builds up until bubbles of methane and carbon dioxide begin to float to the top of the large tank
  • The gas is collected and compressed to about 40-90 psi and
  • Pushed through energy producing micro turbines
  • That energy is put back into the grid. Indeed, 20% of the energy requirements on the 49 hectares of Ralph’s campus was fulfilled with unsold organics that would otherwise have gone into dumps. The digestive system also generates mineral and nutrient amounts that are converted into a manufacturer of organic fertilizer.

FEED Resource Recovery does not just decrease the energy bill. They decrease the need for waste shippers from more than 150,000 to mere hundred truck miles by centralizing food waste management. According to their website, they process 300,000+ pounds of organics every day, eliminate 500,000+ diesel truck miles annually and provide an 18.5% ROI for Kroger. A giant company, with over 400,000 employees and locations all over the country, is harnessing the power of tiny, infinitesimally small bacterium, that eat infinitesimally smaller fatty acids, which produce renewable energy. This process diverts waste away from landfills, lessens the amount of methane gas being released into the atmosphere, reduces the number of trucks on the road, and therefore decreases the amount of diesel fuel burnt and released into the atmosphere. The impact, not only on Kroger’s bottom line, but on the environment’s safety and security, is compounding.

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