Beldon Coles among stores sending surplus food to Richgro digestion plant

Richgro operations manager Tim Richards with Coles employee Cheyenne Baken.
Richgro operations manager Tim Richards with Coles employee Cheyenne Baken.

ABOUT 270 tonnes of surplus foods including stale bread from northern suburbs supermarkets has been converted to energy and compost this year.

The surplus food from Coles supermarkets includes out of date bread, bakery items, flowers and vegetables, with the Beldon store collecting the largest amount at 65.49 tonnes.

Cleanaway has taken about 1400 tonnes of excess produce from 50 stores across Perth to Richgro’s digestion plant in Jandakot through the waste management program to divert organic material from landfill.

Richgro operations manager Tim Richards said the plant mimicked a stomach, breaking down food waste and generating methane gas that was fed into a generator to produce electricity that goes back into the grid.

Mr Richards said there was no longer a need to separate the bread from its wrapping before entering the digester.

“We can now put bread into the digester de-packaging machine,” he said.

“The machine spins at a high speed, separating the loaf of bread from the plastic, so only the bread enters the digester; a quicker and easier process.

“The digesters operate like a large stomach, in that they need a balanced diet to maintain good health, just like the doctors preach to all of us.”

Coles State general manager Mark O’Connor said the surplus food converted to electricity and compost was not fit for human consumption.

“This initiative is great for the environment and compliments Coles’ commitment to recycling and finding other uses for surplus food,” he said.

The supermarket chain has donated surplus edible food to SecondBite since 2011, providing the equivalent of 40 million meals to people in need.

Its Redcyle program is an initiative where shoppers can place their plastic bags and soft plastics into bins at stores so they can be recycled into furniture.

Composted organic surplus

Whitford: 40.14 tonnes
Warwick Grove: 29.22 tonnes
Beldon: 65.49 tonnes
Greenwood: 38.51 tonnes
Brighton Village: 36.01 tonnes
Ocean Keys: 32.44 tonnes
Banksia Grove: 28.09 tonnes

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