The World Bank

Meat Processing and Rendering Industry - Pollution Prevention Guidelines

- By:

Courtesy of The World Bank


Pollution Prevention Guidelines to provide technical advice and guidance to staff and consultants involved in pollution-related projects. The guidelines represent state-of-the-art thinking on how to reduce pollution emissions from the production process. In many cases, the guidelines provide numerical targets for reducing pollution, as well as maximum emissions levels that are normally achievable through a combination of cleaner production and end-of-pipe treatment. The guidelines are designed to protect human health; reduce mass loadings to the environment; draw on commercially proven technologies; be cost-effective; follow current regulatory trends; and promote good industrial practices, which offer greater productivity and increased energy efficiency.

Table of Contents

  • Industry Description and Practices
  • Waste Characteristics
  • Pollution Prevention and Control
  • Target Pollution Loads
  • Treatment Technologies
  • Emissions Guidelines
  • Monitoring and Reporting
  • Key Issues
  • Sources

Industry Description and Practices

The meat processing and rendering industry includes the slaughter of animals and fowl, processing of the carcasses into cured, canned, and other meat products, and the rendering of inedible and discarded remains into useful by-products such as lards and oils. A wide range of processes is used. Table 1 provides information on water usage in the industry. Waste Characteristics The meat industry has the potential for generating large quantities of solid wastes and wastewater with a biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) of 600 milligrams per liter (mg/l). BOD can be as high as 8,000 mg/l, or 10–20 kilograms per metric ton (kg/t) of slaughtered animal; and suspended solids levels can be 800 mg/l and higher.

In some cases, offensive odors may occur. The amounts of wastewater generated and the pollutant load depend on the kind of meat being processed. For example, the processing of gut has a significant impact on the quantity and quality (as measured by levels of BOD and of chemical oxygen demand, COD) of wastewater generated. The wastewater from a slaughterhouse can contain blood, manure, hair, fat, feathers, and bones. The wastewater may be at a high temperature and may contain organic material and nitrogen, as well as such pathogens as salmonella and shigella bacteria, parasite eggs, and amoebic cysts.

Pesticide residues may be present from treatment of animals or their feed. Chloride levels from curing and pickling may be very high—up to 77,000 mg/l. Smoking operations can release toxic organics into air. Rendering is an evaporative process that produces a condensate stream with a foul odor. All slaughtering wastes (generally, 35% of the animal weight) can be used as by-products or for rendering. The only significant solid waste going for disposal is the manure from animal transport and handling areas.

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