Tesco, Buehler Food Markets Tackle Emissions

by | Sep 9, 2009

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cowsSupermarkets are aiming to reduce their carbon footprints, but considering initiatives at Tesco and Buehler Food Markets, there are many different routes to achieve the same goals.

As an example, Tesco is now monitoring the flatulence of its herd of dairy cows at its Dairy Centre of Excellence in an effort to lower their methane emissions, reports The Guardian. The supermarket says methane emissions from flatulence account for the bulk of the carbon footprint of milk with dairy cows accounting for 40 percent of all UK livestock emissions and 75 percent of the carbon footprint of milk production, reports the newspaper.

The herd of Holsteins has been fitted with “burp collars” that will monitor stomach sounds with the help of motion sensors to see if different feeds can cut emissions. Data will be collected on an hourly basis and transferred to the farms computers when cows pass over an ID unit in route to the milking area, reports The Guardian.

Organic dairy Stonyfield Farm has already found a way to reduce methane emissions 12 percent by adjusting the cattle feed mix so it produces fewer burps.

By 2020, the U.S. dairy industry hopes to cut by 25 percent annual greenhouse gas emissions related to the production of milk, according to the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.

Tesco told The Guardian it has produced “carbon footprint” labels for more than 130 products, with full fat, semi-skimmed and skimmed milk added last month. The supermarket chain aims to disclose the carbon footprints of 500 products by the end of the year, according to the article.

Buehler Food Markets is also looking to reduce its carbon footprint. The supermarket recently converted one of its four tractor trailers, used to pick up and deliver local produce, from diesel to waste vegetable oil, which generates less greenhouse gas emissions than diesel oil, reports Supermarket News. The company expects to use 250 gallons of waste vegetable oil per week.

More semi trucks may be converted, depending on the amount of waste oil produced, reports Supermarket News. In addition, Buehler’s has successfully tested the use of waste vegetable oil over the past six months to fuel a Volkswagen Jetta TDI used by the retailer’s corporate chef, according to the article.

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