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Hannaford Says It's No Longer Sending Food Waste To Landfills

Ground Beef Recall
Robert F. Bukaty
AP file
A shopper loads groceries into her car at a Hannaford grocery store in Auburn, Maine, Friday, Dec. 16, 2011.

Hannaford supermarkets says food waste from its stores will no longer be sent to landfills.

Food waste sent to landfills eventually decomposes and releases large quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming.

"All this food going to waste is creating all these problems environmentally, and financially and socially, and in the meantime people are going hungry in the communities we serve," says Hannaford health and sustainability lead George Parmenter. "If we could take a swing at solving this problem we get a lot of return. We can help solve a hunger problem, and at the same time mitigate our climate impact and do some good for the business that way."

Parmenter says the company no longer wants to contribute to that cycle, and unsold food will now be donated to those in need, distributed to farmers for livestock or turned into energy through a partnership with an anaerobic digester.

Food that goes to the anaerobic digester is processed and turned into gas that is fired and used to power a generator that returns electricity to the grid.

Hannaford says the process has kept 65 million tons of food from landfills, and that reducing food waste is part of a multi-tiered platform to reduce the chain's carbon footprint.

The announcement was lauded by all four of Maine’s federal lawmakers, as well as Gov. Janet Mills