Sendik’s Food Markets, a pioneer in bringing fine groceries to the Milwaukee market for almost 90 years, is blazing another trail, introducing the recycling of food waste into energy by installing InSinkErator’s Grind2Energy system in all 12 of its metro area stores. The system diverts food waste from landfills, grinding and storing it in tanks on the property; the waste is then trucked to an anaerobic digester facility where it is converted into biogas and fertilizer.
Food waste is a significant contributor to greenhouse gases in the U.S. with more than 36 million tons sent to landfills each year where it decomposes and produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas. The annual impact of using Grind2Energy at all 12 Sendik’s stores is equivalent to eliminating 4.7 million car miles worth of greenhouse gas emissions. The food scraps will create enough natural gas annually to heat 1,500 homes for one month and generate more than 407,000 pounds of nutrient-rich fertilizer.
“Ever since my grandfather began selling fruits and vegetables here in 1926, Sendik’s has been known for quality and innovation in the groceries and services we offer. In recent years that has included a commitment to being good stewards of the resources we use,” said Nick Balistreri, Sendik’s family co-owner. “Our family lives in this community and we’re committed to making Milwaukee a better place for our neighbors.”
Balistreri noted that Sendik’s stores have been composting their food waste for more than three years and now the Grind2Energy program will allow the company to do even more to reduce its environmental impact. He pointed to the Sendik’s Mequon store where they launched the pilot Grind2Energy program last November. Before starting to use the system, that store alone needed to bring in eight 30-yard trash compactor trucks a month to handle their waste, Balistreri said. Now they only need one per month.
The success of the Mequon pilot led Sendik’s to decide to expand the Grind2Energy system throughout its operations. It will be up and running in all 12 Sendik’s locations by the end of September. Already in 2015, more than 332 tons of food scraps have been transformed into renewable energy, Balistreri said. While Grind2Energy ensures that no food waste ends up in landfills, Sendik’s also makes sure no edible food leftovers go to waste, donating those to the eastern Wisconsin branch of Feeding America, the nationwide network of local food banks.
The waste that is ground by the Grind2Energy system at Sendik’s stores is processed at the Forest County Potawatomi digester that was built two years ago near the Potawatomi Bingo Casino. The biogas produced there is sold to We Energies, going back into the region’s power grid.
“This program is popular with the associates at our stores and blends seamlessly into our operations,” Balistreri said. “It’s really a win-win for everyone concerned.”
The Sendik’s locations in the Milwaukee area, all participating in the Grind2Energy program, are:
- 340 W Brown Deer Rd., Bayside
- 13425 W. Watertown Plank Rd., Elm Grove
- 5200 W. Rawson Ave., Franklin
- N112 W15800 Mequon Rd., Germantown
- 2195 1st Ave., Grafton
- 7901 W. Layton Ave., Greenfield
- 600 Hartbrook Drive, Hartland
- 10930 N. Port Washington Rd., Mequon
- 3600 S. Moorland Rd., New Berlin
- 8616 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa
- 280 N. 18th Ave., West Bend
- 500 E. Silver Spring Drive, Whitefish Bay