Sainsbury’s plans to power its stores using electricity generated from thousands of tons of food waste.

It will convert the waste into methane gas, which will then provide heat and light for the supermarkets from next year.

Supply chain director Lawrence Christensen said Sainsbury’s wants to become the first British retailer not to send any waste to landfill sites.

Sainsbury’s sends 60,000 tons of food waste to landfill each year, but under the new scheme this will be taken to anaerobic digester plants and converted into methane gas.

The scheme will be based on a pilot in Northamptonshire, where waste from 38 stores goes to a plant for anaerobic digestion.

The programme will generate up to 30 megawatts of electricity when it gets under way.