Good housekeeping recommendations for specific industries to reduce waste

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Fruit and vegetables

The principal processing steps include: (i) general cleaning and dirt removal; (ii) removal of leaves, skin, and seeds; (iii) blanching; (iv) washing and cooling; (v) packaging; and (vi) clean-up (US-AEP 1997). Waste includes peelings, stems, seeds, shells, etc. and products that are off-spec, damaged, out-of-date, or returned. Reduce waste by using air flotation units to remove debris from raw fruits and vegetables. In addition, try to wash, grade, and trim crops in the field so that the waste can biodegrade in nature rather than becoming a solid waste problem in buildings. This type of waste can be reused as animal feed or converted to compost, mulch, or soil conditioners.


This waste is caused by overproduction, product deterioration, damaged goods, spills, or operator errors. Improving process control will have the greatest impact on reducing this waste stream, since most of the waste is due to cutting errors, incorrect weight, misforming, and contamination. Waste can also be decreased by completely draining mixers, troughs, and tanks before cleaning and removing solids from equipment or the floor before wetting those surfaces. Bakery waste can be reused by feeding to animals or composting.

Prepared foods

This waste includes raw products, sauces, grease, spices, additives, oils, drippings, off-spec product, spoiled materials, and damaged finished products. Waste can be decreased by appropriately storing raw vegetables in reusable containers to prevent dehydration and spoilage, and recycling used grease, cooking oil, and meat fat. Prepared food waste can be reused or recycled by donating unspoiled perishable or non-perishable foods, processing it into animal feed, composting it, or rendering it.

50 Handbook of waste management and co-product recovery Meat and poultry

The principal steps in processing livestock include: (1) rendering and bleeding; (2) scalding and/or skin removal; (3) internal organ evisceration; (4) washing, chilling, and cooling; (5) packaging; and (6) clean-up (US-AEP 1997). Waste includes carcasses, hides, hoofs, heads, feathers, manure, offal, viscera, bones, fat and meat trimmings, blood and other fluids, and off-spec animals and meat. There are several options for reducing this waste. Install strainers along evisceration lines to keep byproducts off the floor. Attach strainers to drains in the de-hairing process area. Send blood to a blood collection facility. Remove fat from conveyor belts by scraping rather than spraying. Before washing areas, collect solids with squeegees, brooms, or shovels. Waste reuse and recycling options include animal and pet food, composting or vermicomposting of paunch manure, fertilizers, cosmetics, blood meal, gelatin from heads, and glue from hides.

Dairy products

The dairy sector consists of two segments: fluid milk and processed milk products (which originate from fluid milk). The principal processing steps are: (1) clarification or filtration; (2) blending and mixing; (3) pasteurisation and homogenisation; (4) process manufacturing; (5) packaging; and (6) clean-up (US-AEP 1997). This waste consists of off-spec goods, damaged or out-of-date products, cheese solids, curd, whey, and milk sludge from the separation process. Reduce solid waste by dedicating lines to particular products, avoiding product spillage when disconnecting hoses and pipes, provide a foolproof whey collection system to avoid leaks from valves and fittings, provide whey storage tanks of twice the maximum daily volume to avoid tank overflow, and prevent sludge from entering the wastewater stream. Reuse or recycle waste generated by collecting spilled solids for reprocessing or animal feed, developing markets for whey solids, creating processes to extract and produce proteins and carbohydrates from whey, and using anaerobic digestion to create methane or to ferment for alcohol production.


Waste includes: off-spec, by-catch, and rubbish from fishing operations; skins, bones, cuttings, viscera, oils, and blood; brines, sauces, spoiled products; damaged, out-of-date, or returned goods. To reduce waste: improve the quality of fish delivered to the plant; use a vacuum to remove skin, fat, and flesh from the skinner drum; install trays and chutes around filleting machines to catch solids; vacuum offal for oily fish processing; and remove offal from the filleting line by dry methods instead of using water. Waste can be reused or recycled into pet food, protein hydrolysate, fish meal and oil, bait, or compost.

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