• animal by products;
  • fat;
  • greenhouse gas (GHG);
  • industrial ecology;
  • meat;
  • protein


This article presents a tool and data for calculation of the carbon footprint of rendering operations in North America, quantifying Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (indirect) greenhouse gas emissions. Scope 3 (life cycle) emissions are not included.

According to the sample data, in one year an average-size rendering plant in North America processes 100,000 tonnes (t) of meat by-products, fallen animals, and restaurant grease and produces 40,000 t of marketable fats and proteins. A plant of this size emits directly about 20,000 t of carbon dioxide (CO2), mostly by burning fuels to operate cookers that destroy pathogens, drive off moisture, and separate the fat and protein. Another 4,000 t of CO2 is emitted by utility companies to provide electricity for the rendering process. These direct and indirect emissions are equivalent to about 30% of the CO2 that would be released if all of the carbon in the rendered raw material were decomposed into CO2.