Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

Material flows in livestock product utilisation - FO0203

Description
The Strategy for Sustainable Farming and Food sets out how industry, Government and consumers can work together to secure a sustaineable future for farming and food industries, as viable industries contributing to a better environment and healthy and properous communites.

There is therefore considerable pressure to reduce the amount of waste produced to ensure a more viable industry and to reduce the environmental impact created by the current waste disposal methods. This study is intended to provide a review of the current volumes of waste products from the Meat, Milk and Egg sectors and determine why this amount of waste is produced.

Most food production results in some waste being produced. This can be as a result of the main process, for example inedible offals resulting from an animal slaughter process or as a result of poor production systems and products not meeting the required specification.

The aim of this study is to assess the amount of waste currently produced, how it is disposed of, and determine how this amount can be reduced. The work will also identify barriers to further exploitation, implications for environmental resources of using more of the wasted product and will identify research needs including targets for research outcomes.

The study will also identify the effect any of the resulting proposed changes will have on the agricultural industry, the food processors and the consumers.
Objective
In the context of the above the study will:

1. Determine the scale of waste in the Meat, Milk and Egg industries

Determine the amount of waste produced by the Meat, Milk and Egg Industries, and how it is currently disposed of (e.g. as a product with no/negative economic value, and as product with a low economic value) and the cost of such disposal. This will be looked at in terms of both major supply chain sectors and at end point disposal.

2. Determine the reasons for this waste.

Determine the reason for the waste identified in 1) above (e.g. as a result of process, produced out of specification, no current uses identified), and investigate how and why reasons have changed over recent years, including the impact of legislation and where applicable the attitudes of consumers (e.g. to the consumption of edible offal).

3. Review the possibilities for reducing this waste.

Review the possibilities for reducing the economic and environmental impact of waste through either:
a). Decreasing the amount produced through improving techniques and efficiency (e.g. to changes in processes and specifications to reduce the amounts of waste produced – based on current knowledge and technology).
b). Increasing the exploitation of what is currently considered as waste at both the sectoral level and on the industry level, in both the domestic and export markets; consider the barriers to exploitation.
c). Better economic and environmental means of end point disposal for the remaining waste.

4. Estimate the effect of any proposed changes to reduce waste.

Estimate the effect that any changes proposed following 3), would have the on the economic and environmental footprint of each industry, taking into account the secondary economic and environmental impact of any such proposed change (e.g. ones that are only possible with greater energy use), including realistic targets for industry take-up.

5. Assess the additional research and investment required to exploit any such proposed changes.

Propose areas for further research that will help to reduce the economic and environmental impact of waste (e.g. in technical improvements to produce less, to overcome barriers to exploitation and to improve the end point disposal). Provide views as to the capability of identified UK institutions to undertake any proposed research, estimates of resource requirements and targets for research outcomes.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Material flows in livestock product utilisation   (148k)
• Final Report - Annex : Material flows in livestock product utilisation   (790k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2007

To: 2007

Cost: £50,000
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Meat and Livestock Commission
Keywords
Agricultural Waste              
Agriculture and Food Chain              
Carcass Evaluation              
Environmental Protection              
Livestock              
Uniformity              
Waste Management              
Fields of Study
Resource Efficient and Resilient Food Chain