Japanese recycle unused food into pig feed

02-06-2009 | |

Around a hundred tonnes of food per day, is brought to a 2,700 square-meter factory in a gorge in Chiba Prefecture where it is blended down and turned into pig food.

Every morning, a fleet of trucks arrives with products ranging from quail eggs to cream, desserts, pizzas, etc . “It’s all edible food. It only gets accepted depending on whether I myself could eat it,” says Toshihiro Ishii, head of liquid feed production at Bright Pig Chiba. “We don’t give pigs food that you couldn’t give to humans.”

The factory produces 100 tonnes of feed a day, enough for 37,000 pigs, which is then delivered to four pig farms in the prefecture. These farms slaughter 6,500 pigs a month, which subsequently end up on dining tables across the prefecture.

According to estimates by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, 19 million tonnes of food are thrown away every year, of which 5 to 9 million tonnes are edible. Food recycling laws present in Japan have prompted companies to look for ways of disposing of their excess products.

Confectioner Fujiya also started disposing of substandard cookies and other produce at Bright Pig last year. During 2007, the company managed to recycle 81% of its food waste, and it’s now trying to make it up to the 85% target set by the Food Recycling Law.

Aside from the legal requirement, the company says that recycling the food brings the additional bonus of being 30-40% cheaper than having it incinerated.

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