Wednesday, April 22, 2009

where food and fuel collide

While browsing a stack of magazines today, I unexpectedly came across a great article in Los Angeles magazine. This is not one that I usually peruse, so I was pretty excited to find something of interest.

The article entitled "The Other Recycling Business" brings light to the rendering industry. Don't know much about rendering? Neither did I. Apparently, about half of the cattle, hogs, and chickens that were slaughtered in the United States last year did not find their way to your plate, but instead were chopped up and drained of their juices to be made into all sorts of unsuspecting goods, including personal care products (think: shampoo, shaving cream, collagen bases, mouthwash), protein additives for animal feed, and biodiesel. Fat is quite the precious commodity, and the perspective of this article is quite fascinating, juxtaposing snippets about Wolfgang Puck's carnivore haven Cut Steakhouse with the story of Jim Andreoli, a pick-up truck driving Dirty Jobs contender. Take a look at what Andreoli envisions in this "diagram of the week."


Here is where the conflict lies. Renderers such as Andreoli are walking a fine line. One could make a case for only raising and slaughtering animals necessary for human consumption, but even if that was the case, we are still left with animal "waste" products-- bones, head, guts, etc. Instead of letting precious tons of products go to waste, he puts them to use. And to good use, even. Who can argue with turning Burger King's troughs of run-off grease into biofuel? PETA, that's who. Can't win them all. Well intentioned, I'm sure, but certainly lacking in logic. Andreoli really has a passion for what he does and believes that he can make great strides for the environment, and he loves a great piece of meat! What more can you want, really?
(source article - "The Other Recycling Business," Los Angeles Magazine, April 2009)


  1. That diagram is amazing. Visual information at its best.

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