Disposing of animal by-products
What you must do
Animal by-products are divided into three categories according to their potential risk to human and animal health. There are different rules for disposing of waste in each category.
All three categories of animal by-products must be kept separate at all times. If material from one category is mixed with material from another category, the whole mixture must be treated as being in the higher risk category.
Category 1 animal by-products
Category 1 is for very high risk material and includes:
- animals and materials suspected or confirmed to be infected by transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), such as scrapie in sheep, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle
- animals that have been experimented on
- zoo and pet animal carcasses
- wild animals suspected of having an infectious disease
- catering waste from international transport, ie aircraft and ships
- specified risk material (SRM), i.e. tissues from cattle, sheep or goats that might be infected with TSEs, or carcasses that have not had SRM removed
- animal tissue collected when treating waste water from category 1 processing plants.
Category 2 animal by-products
Category 2 is for high risk material and includes:
- animals that are slaughtered to prevent the spread of disease
- manure and digestive tract content
- animals and parts of animals which die by means other than slaughtering, e.g. fallen stock
- animal tissue collected when treating waste water from category 2 processing plants.
Category 3 animal by-products
Category 3 is for low risk material and includes:
- meat and fish from food manufacturers and retailers
- former foodstuffs of animal origin, or containing products of animal origin - this includes food that is waste due to manufacturing or packaging defects
- catering waste, other than catering waste from international transport
- eggs and other by-products that do not show signs of infectious disease
- fish and other sea animals
- hooves, horns and feathers.
- DAERA: Animal by-products guidance (Northern Ireland)
- Scottish Government: Animal by-products
- GOV.UK: International catering waste
If you have animal by-products, you must send them to approved premises for treatment or disposal. Ideally, different categories of animal by-product should be handled at different sites. See the page in this guideline on animal by-product categories
What you must do
Category 1 material must be disposed of by:
- direct incineration
- rendering - followed by incineration or landfill.
International catering waste may be disposed of at a landfill site authorised by the Divisional Veterinary Office in Northern Ireland or Animal Health in Scotland.
Category 2 material must be disposed of by:
- direct incineration
- rendering or other authorised treatment process - followed by incineration, landfill, composting or biogas treatment.
Some category 2 material - such as manure - may be recycled without pre-treatment, eg for biogas, composting, oleo-chemical products, or used as a fertiliser if other requirements are met. Unprocessed category 2 material cannot go to landfill.
Category 3 material must be disposed of by:
- rendering - followed by incineration or landfill
- anaerobic digestion
- alkaline hydrolysis plant
- composting or biogas plant.
In some cases, category 3 material can be used in an approved pet food manufacturing plant or technical plant.
Category 3 material cannot be taken to landfill, except for catering waste.
In Northern Ireland, if your business produces more than 5kg of food waste per week, you are required to have separate collection of that waste. There is no requirement for food businesses which produce less than 5kg of food waste to collect it separately. Food waste must not be deposited in a lateral drain or public sewer. The legislation does not apply to householders.
- NIEA: Duty of Care – A Code of Practice
- Food Waste Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015
- DAERA: Guidance - the Food Waste Regulations
In Scotland, if you process, prepare or sell food and produce more than 5kg of food waste a week, in an urban area, you will be required to separate that food waste from the rest of the waste you produce for separate collection. This duty does not apply to businesses in rural areas or those producing less than 5 kg of food waste per week.
The use of macerators to dispose of food waste in the sewer system is banned, except for domestic premises and food waste producers in rural areas.