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Red meat joins the war on waste

The Australian red meat industry is dedicated to reducing its waste, and has a set a long-term goal of ‘zero waste’ discharge. Zero waste revolves around redirecting waste towards recycling, beneficial re-use or new value-add by-product streams.

Research and development is currently underway to help red meat producers reduce and re-use waste on farms and at feedlots and processors. These solutions are aimed at:

  • Reducing emissions from production systems
  • Creating new and efficient ways to improve recycling practices
  • Reducing and managing effluent and waste run-off
  • Developing flexible irrigation strategies that can operate on less electricity and other resources
  • Designing and implementing energy awareness programs that reduce the cost and increase the rate of adoption of new technologies by producers and processors
  • Investigating alternative energy sources for production systems.

Converting red meat waste into usable products

An exciting industry initiative is the Wastes to Profits project. This project aims to deliver advanced technologies to convert wastes from livestock production and municipal water treatment into fertilisers, feeds, chemicals, and energy products for use in agriculture. The overall aim of the project is to improve productivity and enhance profitability for red meat producers.

Reducing food wastage and packaging

Plastic-free meat trays and technologies which extend shelf life are just two of the ways the red meat industry is helping to reduce food wastage. With an estimated one-third of all food produced globally thrown away every year across the value chain, the industry has stepped up to the challenge to revolutionise red meat packaging.

  • The industry is focused on stemming food wastage with the following initiatives:
  • Reinventing the traditional tray to use 70% less plastic
  • Using food and meat waste to make a plastic-free, compostable meat tray
  • Investing in solutions to optimise shelf life and reduce markdowns.

 

Did you know?

  • Microalgae can be used to convert liquid wastes, including from anaerobic digestion, into algal products and clean water that could be reused on site.
  • Feedlots are investigating the potential of re-using methane as a renewable energy source, and recycling manure to reduce emissions and create a renewable fertiliser.
  • Dung beetles can recycle nutrients in pastures and help store carbon in the soil. Carbon sequestration from these ecosystem engineers could be equivalent to carbon sequestration from 400,000 hectares of eucalypt plantation.