Fast Company

Green Hogs: The U.S.'s First Zero-Waste Pork Processing Plant Coming Soon

The plan is ambitious: a farmer hopes to process Heritage Acre Foods pork, and then capture and reprocess the waste in a biodiesel plant that runs generators, which will power the processing facility.

hogVegetarians generally have a smaller food-related environmental impact than meat-eaters, but that doesn't mean environmentalists should give up on meat-processing operations. Witness Russ Kremer, a Missouri-based hog farmer and leader of a group of 51 family farmers that sell meat under the brand Heritage Acre Foods. Kremer is in the midst of installing the country's first 100% biodiesel-powered, zero-waste pork processing plant.

The plan is ambitious: Kremer hopes to process Heritage Acre Foods pork, and then capture and reprocess the waste in a biodiesel plant that runs generators, which will power the processing facility. Any extra power required by Heritage will be produced using solar and wind power and stored in massive battery packs provided by lithium-ion battery company Corvus Energy.

"We're helping revolutionize farming by providing family farms with the capability to capture consistent, green energy,” said Brent Perry, president and chief executive officer for Corvus, in a statement. "This is the first time that truly effective portable and remote energy storage has been created for a farm and pork processing plant."

Kremer's meat isn't half bad, either. He farms only pasture-raised, hormone-free hogs fed a diet of soy, corn, and oats. Greening the processing aspect of his business is the next logical step.

Heritage hasn't revealed how much the zero-waste move costs, but we're guessing it isn't cheap. Ultimately, though, Heritage will make money back on the venture--it's cheaper to recycle waste for energy than to rely on the grid. The new processing system will be ready in two years.

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[Image by Rennett Stowe]

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2 Comments

  • Bradley Short

    Though I'll have to agree that the meatless life is inherently better for the environment, it's still a good thing that Kremer is choosing to make the pork process greener. I strive to be environmentally aware and responsible, yet I still love indulging in some bacon from time to time. So I'm happy that even my vice can be made in a way that isn't quite as bad as it was before (as long as it doesn't lead to some sort of Jevons-esque consumption rebound).

    Bradley Short
    http://www.businessearth.com/c...

  • Kevin

    I reject the premis of your headline - It's not zero-waste or green. Animal conversion of feed to meat is lousy, inefficient and is a waste of grain, soy, etc and water. This is despite the genuine effort of this farmer to minimize the environmental after effects of a hog operation. Want to support your local farmer? Eat More Kale