The supermarket chain is investing the money in a recycling plant under construction in Northamptonshire which is set to begin operating in 2009.

The investment is the first step in a partnership with anaerobic digestion firm BiogenGreenfinch which is set to create several food recycling plants across the country.

The plants will turn use AD to turn food waste into methane and carbon-neutral fertiliser to help the supermarket meet a target of sending no food waste to landfill by next spring.

It follows a pilot run throughout 2008 with BiogenGreenfinch and 38 branches of Sainsbury’s, as well as its Northampton depot.

In a statement, Sainsbury’s said: “This investment is the first step in a planned joint venture which will review other opportunities in the UK, including London.

“In addition to disposing of Sainsbury’s own waste, it will be available to serve Sainsbury’s suppliers.”

Sainsbury’s currently sends about 80,000 tonnes of waste to landfill a year, and food waste accounts for three-quarters of that rubbish.

The Northampton plant will add to Biogen’s twelve existing anaerobic digestion plants in the UK, including two food waste plants in Bedfordshire and Shropshire.

The move is the latest in a long line of environmental improvements undertaken by Sainsbury’s, which has previously launched compostable packaging and pledged to remove free plastic bags from its tills.

Kate Martin

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