Recycling food wastes into feedstuff - A solution for the management of business and waste in livestock farm by building a food recycle loop

(Industrial Waste Close-up 2009.10)

ODAKYU BUILDING SERVICE Co., Ltd. Environmental Division (Odakyu Food Ecology Center)

Outline of Odakyu Food Ecology Center

Start of business operation : 2005
Location : 1-17-13 Tanashioda, Sagamihara city, Kanagawa
License and authorization : Recycle business registration
Approval for recycling business plan (Article 11, 19)
Reception capacity 39 t/day


Food waste with business activities is generated 11 million tons every year in Japan. The Food Recycling Law was enacted in 2001 to promote recycling of food waste. This law specifies multiple applications for recycling. Among them, priority is given to “making feedstuff”.

In the Notice of the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry “Basic Policy concerning the Promotion of Utilization of Recyclable food waste” in 2007, it was announced that “making feedstuff is the most useful means to use ingredients and calories contained in recyclable food waste and also contributes to improve self-sufficiency rate of the feedstuff so that it is important to preferably be selected as an application for recycling of food waste”. Regarding feedstuff, liquid type feedstuff is attention-getting in terms of livestock fattening and cost reduction.

Odakyu Food Ecology Center (hereinafter called as “Center”) is a division set up by ODAKYU BUILDING SERVICE to operate a feedstuff making business. It collects food waste not only from food-associated business premises affiliated with Odayu group, but also from many food related business premises located along Odakyu railway line area and produces liquid feedstuff, and sells it to pig farms.

This time, JW interviewed Mr. Takahashi, adviser of the Center(Photo 1) and asked about their motivation to start making feedstuff, the current situation and future perspective of the business.

Mr. Ito (left:Supervisor, Environment Division, ODAKYU BUILDING SERVICE), Mr. Takahashi (right:Advisor, Odakyu Food Ecology Center)
Photo 1. Mr. Ito (Left:Supervisor, Env. Div.), Mr. Takahashi (Right:Advisor, Odakyu Food Eco. Center)


Q: Motivation to start the business

Odakyu group has many food-related business premises such as a department store, supermarkets, food process factories, hotels, restaurants, convenience stores and such. Recycling of food waste from these business premises has not so far been carried out much.

Making feedstuff from such food waste is not only helpful to reduce the amount of waste, but also to solve problems associated with livestock farming; those are the price hike of feedstuff grain and response to consumer needs for livestock products with safeness and feel-safety. Accordingly, we began the study of feedstuff production for pig farms responding to the movement of the enactment of the Food Recycling Law.

Having five years of studying period and taking into account what are stipulated in the Food Recycling Law, we started business operation in 2005 with building a feedstuff factory in Kanagawa prefecture.

Q: Please briefly explain your feedstuff-making process.

[Collection stage]

Among businesses related food waste, only food waste suitable for pig feedstuff (bread, noodle, vegetable, fruit, prepared food, bean curd, tea dregs, milk, yogurt, etc.) are collected. However, as for chain restaurant industry, cooking residues are collected, but leftovers are not collected, because they are likely to have the mixture of unsuited items.

In collection, a dedicated airtight container designated by the Center is used. On the container a bar-code is attached having basic information (generation site, time and date, and type). By reading bar-code information, the contents of the container can be identified. The transportation is carried out by an affiliated transportation business using a dedicated truck having a cool box.

[Feedstuff production stage]

Feedstuff production process is composed of six treatments including “measurement of carrying-in food waste”, “separation of unsuited items”, “shredding”, “mixing”, “disinfection”, and “fermentation”.

In the treatment of “separation of unsuited items”, since dispensable wooden chopsticks, plastics, clips and such are possibly caught up in, carrying-in food waste is moved on a belt-conveyer, and there unsuited items are removed by manual and magnet separation.

In the treatment of “mixing”, according to the formulation of compounding, each raw material (carrying-in food waste) is put in the production plant, wherein ingredient and water adjustments are carried out.

In the treatment of “disinfection”, materials are heated up by a steam jacket, and disinfected at a temperature of 90 through 100℃.

In the treatment of “fermentation”, it is fermented by cooling down to 40℃ in a dedicated tank, mixing fermentation enzyme (lactic acid bacterium), and keeping the pH 4 or below. Liquid feedstuff produced through the treatment of fermentation does not go off 10 days or more.

[Feedstuff distribution stage]

Liquid feedstuff is like rice gruel and the percentage of water content becomes 80% so that it can be transported to a pig farm by a tank lorry (10 ton car) owned by the Center.

In some cases, pig farms use our liquid feedstuff just as it is, whereas in other cases, they mix it with other feedstuff and use. Furthermore, when the specific compounding of ingredients is requested by a pig farm, we will adjust the contents accordingly.

Q: In studying commercialization, what did you place a particular emphasis on?

In order to succeed in commercializing recycled feedstuff, it has to be beneficial to both a generator and a pig farm.

In terms of fee, we receive food waste from a generator at a charge of disposal (incineration and others) or a little bit less. Meanwhile, the distribution price of feedstuff to a pig farm, though depending on transportation distance, is about the half of the price of conventional compounded feedstuff.

In terms of the effects of feedstuff on a pig, it has advantages in the health control of a pig such as “It improves immunity by the action of lactic acid bacterium in liquid feedstuff” and helps to prevent a pig suffering from pneumonia due to its dustless nature while feeding.”

In terms of meat quality, its raw meat and ham receive a high reputation so that it is treated as a brand-name product as “Yogurt pig” in and out of Odakyu group. Thus, it is important to design and operate a total system taking into account needs of pig farms and generators to make further inroads into the market with such advantages.

Q: How do you deal with needs of pig farms and generators?

We provide a monthly report on “carrying-in record” to a generator under contract. In this report, the carrying-in date, weight, type and mixed unsuited items of waste are listed in the chronological order. A generator is able to reduce amount of his/her food waste and to take measure to prevent the mixture of unsuited items by examining data in the report.

Moreover, as for a generator intends to newly contract with us, we provide face to face consultation and propose a sorting idea by use; in other words, the uses for feedstuff or other recycling such as biomass and compost concerning food waste generated from each premises. Meanwhile, as for recycling other than feedstuff, we introduce compost or biomass factories affiliated with the Center to a generator as requested.

Meanwhile, we provide individualized instruction with a pig farm under contract concerning the feeding method of liquid feedstuff, and also consult with a pig farm individually concerning the health and meat quality of a pig, and work on the formulation of compounding as best as we can.

Q: About current operation size and business activities in the future.

Currently carrying-in amount of food waste is about 25 tons per day. With the addition of water, the production amount of feedstuff becomes 30 tons per day. This amount is effective to fatten 3,000 pigs (actually the number increases to 8,000 because it is mixed with other feedstuff).

As for the reception of food waste, those from other than Odakyu group are in an upward trend and account for about 50% of total amount. There are still many generators requesting the collection of their waste. Also, as for pig farms, up to now contract cases reach eleven and there are still many of them which want to have contract with us.

We currently confine our business to feedstuff, but we expect to have a chance to challenge cattle fodder production in the future.

Overall scheme of business

This figure shows Overall scheme of business(Figure 1).

Overall scheme of business
Figure 1. Overall scheme of business

After the interview

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is promoting to expand the use of feedstuff which uses food waste, as it is called as “Eco-feedstuff”. An organization related to the Ministry is said to start a certification system for Eco-feedstuff in this year (2009) and furthermore, to study a certification system for the products from livestock fed with Eco-feedstuff.

Thus far, food waste is recognized as raw materials to produce brand-name meat by efforts of parties involved. However, in order to expand the consumption of meat from livestock fed by such recycled feedstuff, it is necessary to get consumers trust on the safeness and the feel-safety of such meat. For this purpose, the importance of ensuring traceability throughout a process from the generation of food waste to the distribution of final meat and processed foods is increasingly recognized.

Collecting information of generating business premises, type and amount of food waste through bar-code at the Center and the carry-in recording of food waste at the feedstuff production plant make it possible to secure the traceability of a whole process from the first step to the final production of pig meat.

Furthermore, for realizing successful feedstuff recycling, it is a key to stabilize the quality and quantity of raw materials for feedstuff and to produce feedstuff with safeness and feel-safety with hearing opinions from both livestock farms and food waste generators. In this context, it is crucial to secure human resources having knowledge and know-how related.

Currently, the number of fattening pigs in Japan is about 10 millions. Considering the fact that most of feedstuff used in Japan depends on that from overseas, the increased use of Eco-feedstuff is of great significance. The approach employed by the Center is expected to spread widely.