PROCESSING

Environmental sustainability

Australian processors are vigilant about using energy and water more efficiently.

This is because they use large amounts of these resources to produce red meat, particularly electricity and gas for refrigeration and the production of steam and water.

Enhancing the environmental sustainability means processors do everything from:

…capturing biogas from waste streams to generate electricity
…to recycling water for non-potable uses such as washing cattle and trucks
…to installing sensors on hand wash stations and sterilisers.
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Let’s get real

Like all industries, the red meat industry knows its practices have an environmental impact.

So, what’s the industry doing about it?

As an industry we’re proactive about minimising this impact and continually improving.

Here are two examples of recent research the Australian red meat and livestock industry has completed to reduce its impact on the environment…

Covered anaerobic lagoons: This technology enables biogas to be extracted from wastewater generated at processing plants. The biogas is cleaned to remove impurities and combusted in gas boilers to generate hot water and steam for use in the processing plants. The process has reduced carbon emission intensity (by 52% in one plant) and gas (by $500,000/year in one plant) and coal expenditure (by $135,000/year in one plant).

Reducing waste by optimising carcase utilisation: Automation and robotics are increasingly being used by processors to ensure accurate cutting lines, optimum yield and reduced waste.

The red meat and livestock industry has achieved a lot over the years, but there’s more to do. 

How processors know what to do

The actions processors take are informed by:

The findings from proactive research and development funded by the red meat industry to minimise its environmental impact.

Environmental legislation which imposes management and licensing requirements (e.g. annual soil and water testing and reporting) along with offence provisions to prevent water, air and noise pollution.

Waste legislation provides a framework for managing waste from waste avoidance, to re-use, recycling, and energy recovery through to waste disposal.

Planning legislation stipulates the planning conditions to minimise the processor’s impact upon the environment and surrounding community.