If it were up to her, CDFA Secretary Karen Ross would rather we all stopped using the word “waste.” That’s what she told the National Renderers Association last week at their conference in Orange County.
When more than 62 billion pounds of animal by-products are converted annually into usable commodities such as animal feed, biofuels, fertilizers, soaps, and paints, that’s no longer “waste,” that’s a sustainable livestock and meat industry. Renderers play a critical role to agriculture by recycling fallen animals to protect the health of our livestock populations, public health, and the environment. Renderers also provide a vital service to the restaurant sector by converting used cooking oil into biodiesel.
When 75 percent of California’s biodiesel production comes from used cooking oil, that’s no longer primarily a “waste” product – it’s an energy product. And when those diesel-substitute biofuels also provide significant greenhouse gas reductions, that’s not “waste,” that’s climate change mitigation. There are more opportunities out there along these same lines – ways to get organic waste out of landfills and into productive, beneficial roles in our marketplace. And California’s Rendering Industry has a long history of leading that transformation.