Plainly speaking, food waste is a huge problem for humanity.
Roughly one-third of all food goes to waste - that's just about 1.3 billion metric tons of produce that no one uses. In industrialised countries, that amounts to roughly $680 billion in lost revenue annually, while in developing countries, their total food waste costs them an estimated $310 billion every year.
If only 25% of all the world's wasted food was somehow recovered, it would be enough to feed nearly 900 million hungry people the world over.
Waitrose is taking action on the issue of food waste (and the related problem of environmental pollution) in their community, announcing a new fleet of delivery trucks that will be fuelled entirely with biomethane - essentially rotten food.
Partnering with CNG Fuels - one of the leading bio-fuel innovators in all of Europe - Waitrose has placed an order for 10 flatbed trucks that will be powered completely by rotten food that has gone unsold at their supermarkets across the British Isles.
Waitrose will be the first European company to commit to powering their commercial deliveries with biofuel generated from food waste, giving them a high ground in the bubbling sustainable energy revolution.
Despite being a developed country with a massive social welfare infrastructure, the United Kingdom struggles with food waste and hunger. Just about 8.4 million families in the UK are experiencing some level of food insecurity.
The advantages of the latest biofuel technologies are quite impressive. The new biomethane trucks have an average range of close to 500 miles (more than twice that of typical diesel fuel trucks), and it costs about 40% less than diesel fuel. CNG Fuels CEO Philip Field said:
“Renewable biomethane is far cheaper and cleaner than diesel, and, with a range of up to 500 miles, it is a game-changer for road transport operators.”
Waitrose estimates that with the incredible efficiency of this new biomethane technology, their investment will pay for itself within 3 years. One of the supermarket chain's operating partners, Justin Laney, highlighted the logistical benefits of switching over to biofuel:
“We will be able to make deliveries to our stores without having to refuel away from base...”
The rotten food biomethane emits 70 percent less carbon dioxide than traditional diesel, making it a perfect alternative energy source, especially in light of the Paris Climate Agreement's stated goal of slashing carbon emissions to the tune of 40 percent by the year 2030.
According to the Times, a number of other UK retailers have already placed their orders for trucks that make use of biofuel technology. It's only a matter of time before the trend spreads to the mainland European continent, and eventually to the rest of the world.