Poo. Power. Profits. Walker helps ZooShare Biogas Plant produce clean, renewable energy from zoo animal waste and food waste.
The ZooShare Biogas Project is focused on reducing emissions and shifting the way people see their waste. It is a collaboration between ZooShare Biogas Co-operative – a renewable energy cooperative with more than six hundred members – and EnerFORGE, a subsidiary of Oshawa Power and Utilities Corporation.
The project—a plant that turns animal manure into biogas—is the first of its kind in Canada. It is capable of processing 2,000 tonnes of animal manure from the Toronto Zoo and 15,000 tonnes of inedible food waste from local grocery stores into green energy each year.
Despite having ample supply of animal waste from the zoo itself, the startup would require additional feedstock to produce an amount of biogas significant enough to relieve pressure on Ontario’s power grid. With expertise in grinding and disposal of inedible food waste, Walker through its longtime partner Loblaws, agreed to become a key feedstock supplier for ZooShare. Walker collects inedible food waste and grease trap materials from Loblaws stores in the area and transports it to ZooShare’s anaerobic digester at the Toronto Zoo.
15,000 tonnes of food waste diverted
from landfill annually
250 homes powered
20,000 tonnes greenhouse gas emissions reduced
Walker and Loblaws share a long partnership lasting over a decade and spanning across Canada. Beyond food waste disposal services, the two companies are aligned on building a sustainable future. Loblaws is one of Canada’s largest food retailers committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. With a desire to be part of the solution, Loblaws wanted to find an alternative way to manage its food waste and keep it out of the landfill.
When the ZooShare project faced the challenge of requiring more feedstock to efficiently generate renewable energy, there was no question that the Walker-Loblaws partnership could play an integral role in ZooShare’s ability to reach its targets. In addition, Loblaws inches closer to its own goal of zero food waste to landfill by the end of 2030, and Walker works towards its resource recovery goals.
The ZooShare Biogas Project is the first of its kind in Canada and an example of the circular economy in action.
The 500 kW biogas plant processes 2,000 tonnes of animal manure from the Toronto Zoo and 15,000 tonnes of inedible food waste from local grocery stores into green energy. Biogas is a natural gas produced from the breakdown of organic waste in an anaerobic digester—an oxygen-free environment that mixes the organic waste on a continual basis. As bacteria eat and digest the waste, methane is released and captured. As the gas burns in a generator, it produces enough renewable energy to power 250 homes annually. The ZooShare Biogas Plant is an innovative approach to sustainably producing renewable energy from food waste. Learn more about ZooShare
Managing food waste can be a challenge for anyone in both everyday life and business. For the grocery retail industry, poor food waste management can cause major environmental impacts. Of all food produced in Canada, it is estimated that 60 per cent is lost or wasted each year. The grocery retail industry alone is responsible for roughly 1.31 million tonnes of food waste annually—the equivalent to the weight of Toronto’s CN Tower multiplied more than ten times.
As food waste lands in a landfill and decomposes over time, the organic matter produces methane—a potent greenhouse gas attributed to climate change. Therefore, many large retailers are focused on finding more sustainable disposal options.
Walker’s landfill gas supplied as renewable fuel to a neighbouring GM Propulsion Plant makes GM’s St. Catharines facility its greenest propulsion plant globally.