by DIANNE FETTERLY
A southwestern Ontario rendering plant has received a $6 million interest-free loan from the federal government to help purchase and install a system which would reduce the cost to dispose of Specified Risk Material from the slaughter of animals.
Expected to be operational within a month, Atwood Resources Inc.’s new gasification system will not only provide more efficient disposal facilities for SRM from Ontario’s meat processors, but as an added bonus, the energy produced from the facility will also be used to help reduce natural gas costs for the company’s rendering plant.
“I feel really good about the project,” said Atwood President Dave Smith following the announcement last week by Perth-Wellington MP Gary Schellenberger on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz.
Smith said Atwood Resources started out as a dead stock collection facility. That was before the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) scare in the beef industry when it was still acceptable to remove the hides and sell the meat from the carcasses for pet food. However, following that, there was no demand for the meat and bone, so the company built a rendering plant to dispose of the unwanted product. With its rendering facility, Atwood was able to remove the tallow to be used in biofuels but the meat and bone meal still had to be trucked to landfill sites.
Under the gasification system the meat and bone are put into a chamber and after continuous heating the waste is reduced to a very small amount of ash, resulting in fewer trips to the landfill. Currently, Atwood trucks three to four loads of the waste to landfills each week. Once the new facility is operational, that number will drop to one or two loads every couple of months. The eventual goal is to eliminate the trips to the landfill altogether by selling the ash product for fertilizers, Smith said. That plan, however, still requires approval from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
The Atwood facility handles 400 to 450 metric tonnes of dead stock and SRM waste from abattoirs per week, from all animal species.
Smith added he’s been very pleased with support from both the federal and provincial governments throughout the project.
Ontario Cattlemen’s Association Communications Manager LeaAnne Wuermli said the association was pleased to hear the announcement approving the loan for Atwood Resources’ expansion.
“OCA has been supportive of Atwood for a number of years and we are looking forward to seeing the project move forward, both for farmers as well as the people of Atwood,” she said. BF
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