Bioethanol and animal feed from bread spill of grocery stores

© talsen, #31499158, 2018, source:


Sustainability Carbon Waste
Wholesale and retail trade (exc. motor vehicles)
Cost savings:
Savings are made in waste management costs when surplus food ending up as biowaste is reduced
Size of company:
Large (more than 250)
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:

Bread salvagers

  • Bread surplus from a Finnish grocery trading cooperative is used to produce bioethanol and animal feed
  • Leftovers are collected from over 50 stores and bakeries in and around Helsinki

The Helsinki Cooperative Society Elanto - or HOK-Elanto - is a grocery trading cooperative operating in the Helsinki region.

Unsold bread from HOK-Elanto grocery stores is customarily donated to charities. However, this bread surplus sometimes exceeds their redistribution capacity. In such cases, the leftover surplus is collected from over 80 stores and bakeries in the Helsinki region and turned into bioethanol and animal feed.

St1, a registered fee business operator, processes the bread into bioethanol. Once plastic bags and bag sealers are removed, the bread is crushed, water and yeast are added, and to the mix is then left to ferment and produce 85 % ethanol (E85).

The very truck used to collect the bread is powered by a E85-fuelled dual diesel engine.

Furthermore, a by-product of E85 bioethanol is a high-protein compound which can be used to feed pigs, thus providing an alternative to foreign imported soy protein.

Salvaging unsold bread for ethanol production represents less of a cost for stores than biowaste collection does.

Key benefits

  • Grocery stores are saved the cost of biowaste collection
  • Producing biofuels and animal feed from the bread surplus reduces carbon emissions on several levels

Motiva Oy, License to eat - website about reducing food waste (in Finnish)

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