Rendering of meat and poultry production by-products and used cooking oils are environmentally friendly ways to recycle material that would otherwise be wasted. In short, rendering is recycling.
If not rendered these perishable materials can create human and animal health hazards. Rendering allows for the recovery of fat, protein, and minerals from these raw materials for new uses. While providing these essential services and products, rendering also boosts sustainability of animal agriculture by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and conserving fuel and water.
By reclaiming and converting these animal leftovers and used cooking oil into ingredients for new products, rendering helps customers and consumers to be more sustainable. In addition to lowering GHGs and reducing animal agriculture’s environmental footprint, rendering generates clean water and provides thousands of full-time jobs, many in rural areas.
With a concept originating more than a hundred years ago, this agricultural process of rendering meat and poultry by-products and used cooking oil is the best and oldest way to recycle the by-products of animal agriculture.
Environmental Stewardship: A commitment to continuous improvement
- Recycling products that do not compete for human food resources and that would be wasted is the epitome of a sustainable process, and essentially describes rendering.
- As of 2020, rendering’s contribution to carbon emission reduction in the U.S. and Canada is equivalent to removing more than 18.5 million cars annually from the road.
- Rendering converts 99% of meat and meat production by-products safely into ingredients for animal feed, pet food, biofuel, fertilizer, industrial and consumer products.
- Rendered products produced in the U.S. and Canada meet or exceed government regulatory animal food safety Standards.
- Rendering evaporates water from animal by-products during cooking. Annually, nearly 17 billion liters (3.7 billion gallons) of water are reclaimed during the rendering process and naturally released back into the environment. This large quantity of water meets federal, state and local standards so that it can be returned to rivers and streams.
Social Responsibility: A commitment to future generations
- The principles of rendering sustainability are: environmental stewardship, caring for local communities, producing safe and nutritious food for the animals that will help to feed a growing world population, and producing biofuels that contribute to sustainable, renewable energy production.
- All U.S. landfills would be full within approximately four years without rendering, posing serious public health and environmental problems.
- Without renderer collection of used cooking oil from restaurants and other institutions, municipal sewer and wastewater systems could become clogged if used oils are poured into water waste systems. This would not only compromise water quality but would add costly damage and repairs.
- Without rendering, approximately 50% of the animal parts considered inedible would be wasted.
- Rendered products are used as ingredients in pet food and livestock feed, plus other products such as soaps, lubricants, detergents, renewable fuels, and more.
Economic Profitability: A commitment to long-term viability
- Renderers in the U.S. and Canada invest more than €450,000 ($500,000) annually in research by the Fats and Proteins Research Foundation to seek solutions to challenges such as odor control.
- Rendered fats and oils account for 30% of the U.S. feedstock used in biodiesel and renewable diesel production.
- The rendering industry recycles more than 1.04 million tonnes (2.3 billion pounds) of meat and poultry from retail food waste which is used for animal food ingredients.
- The rendering industry recycles 1.08 million tonnes (2.4 billion pounds) of used cooking oils from foodservice operations, much of which is used for biodiesel production.