Solid waste

Red meat processing results in the production of a range of solid wastes. 

Disposal of solid waste is often related with high costs, which gives abattoirs an incentive to reduce solid waste production.

Some of the solid waste, such as manure and paunch contents, are an unavoidable result of the red meat processing, but the impact of others like disposable packaging and equipment can be minimised by judicious purchasing and recycling.

Solid wastes currently being recycled include:



boiler ash

cardboard and paper

fluorescent tubes

paunch solids

waste oil



The majority of waste solids,- 85%-,  generated are organic in nature and are gainfully recycled by:

  • rendering - meat scraps and bones
  • composting - paunch solids
  • mine site rehabilitation – sludge.

In the light of rising energy prices it is becoming increasingly feasible to use solid waste to produce bioenergy. 

Energy can be produced from solid waste, for example through pyrolysis or by combustion in boilers.

The primary environmental concern with waste solids from meat processing plants regards the miscellaneous solids that must be send to landfill.

Possible environmental impacts are soil or water contamination, atmospheric pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

In order to reduce the environmental impact of solid waste MLA and AMPC are supporting the meat processing industry to:

  • reduce production of solid waste
    • monitoring of waste produced
    • improvement of processing and packaging procedures
    • consideration of lifecycle of new purchase
    • improvement of cleaning methods
    • product recovery.
  • energy recovery from waste 
    • co-combustion of waste products, such as paunch waste and sludge, in boilers
    • pyrolysis of sludge or paunch waste
    • dewatering of waste streams
    • recycling of waste into a new product, for example compost.
  • Developing new value added products
    • fertiliser
    • compost
    • pet food.

Since 2003, there has been a 57% reduction in waste solids sent to landfill.