Food waste recycler PDM and supermarket Tesco have defended their right to recycle waste meat to create energy.
The news comes after the Daily Mail (6 August) reported that animal rights campaign group Vegetarians International Voice for Animals said vegetarians in particular would be alarmed to discover that their houses were being part-powered by out-of-date meat.
Tesco is working with PDM to supply renewable energy generated from its unsold meat products. The supermarket giant sends 5,000 tonnes of out-of-date meat to be recycled at PDMs plants.
To turn this wasted meat into power might seem like a good idea at first, but you have to ask yourself why is so much left over and why are so many animals dying to provide this excess?, Viva campaigns manager Justin Kerswell told the Daily Mail.
Tesco is working towards diverting 95 per cent of its waste from landfill by the end of this year.
PDM commercial director Philip Simpson said: Its a key Government objective that the UK reduces the amount of waste thrown away and lessens its dependence on fossil fuels. Using food waste to generate renewable energy is an excellent way to win on both levels. Its something weve been doing for a number of years, and this story shows that, as an industry, we need to be raising awareness on how we harness our resources and the benefits with stakeholders, customers and consumers.
What the story [Daily Mail] failed to consider is that we cant put meat waste in landfill sites, whether its leftovers, animal by-products or animals that have died from natural causes or diseases. Such waste must be handled and processed in the safest and most environmentally sustainable method possible. Unused meat products have been recycled into a wide variety of products such as soap, candles, pet food and industrial chemicals for hundreds of years; their use as an ingredient in biofuels is simply the latest application.
In January, PDM signed a contract with Sainsburys to recycle some of its food waste.
A Tesco spokesman added: We aim to have no waste at all but even with a highly efficient supply chain, a tiny amount of meat waste from our stores makes up less than one per cent of our total waste, and a miniscule proportion of meat sold. Tesco wants to play its part in helping the environment by ensuring that none of our waste goes to landfill, which produces damaging methane gas but instead is re-used in a productive way.