Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

What are animal by-products?

Animal by-products are entire animal bodies, parts of animals or products of animal origin that are not intended for human consumption. These include:

  • animal carcasses and parts of animal carcasses - including fish
  • digestive tract content
  • manure from farmed animals, eg pigs, cattle and chickens
  • ova, embryos and semen which are not intended for breeding purposes
  • blood, hides, skins, hooves and horns
  • shellfish and crustacean waste
  • feathers, wool, hair and fur
  • food waste of animal or fish origin no longer intended for human consumption - including eggs, milk and cooking oil used to prepare animal products.

Meat, fish and other material from animals become animal by-products when the material is no longer intended for human consumption. This is the case even if the material is still edible.

Animal by-product controls do not generally apply to:

  • raw pet food sold directly to consumers
  • liquid milk and colostrum disposed of or used on the farm where it was produced
  • wild animals that are not suspected of carrying an infectious disease
  • excrement from domestic pets, zoo or circus animals, horse stables or wild animals, eg pigeon droppings
  • catering waste, unless it is to be used as animal feed, is going to a composting or biogas plant, or is from international transport, ie from aircraft or ships operating outside the European Union.

Catering waste is waste food from:

  • restaurants
  • catering facilities, eg in offices
  • household kitchens.

If animal by-product controls do not apply to your waste, you must comply with your duty of care for dealing with waste.

Food Waste

A food business is any business that carries out activities related to the processing, distribution, preparation or sale of food. Examples include:

  • restaurants and cafes
  • shopping centre food courts
  • canteens
  • hotels
  • pubs that serve food
  • shops that sell food
  • supermarkets
  • schools and colleges
  • prisons, nursing homes and hospitals.

In Northern Ireland

If you are a food business then you must be prepared to present food waste for separate collection:

  • by 1 April 2016 for large producers
  • by 1 April 2017 for small producers and Health and Social Care trusts.

You are a large producer if you regularly produce more than 50kg of food waste per week.

You are a small producer if you regularly produce between 5kg and 50kg of food waste per week.

(A 120 litre bin holds approximately 60kg of food waste)

Exempt businesses

Your businesses are exempt from the regulations if:

  • You produce less than 5kg of food waste per week
  • You deal with catering waste that has arisen from international transport. International is a Category 1 Animal By-product and therefore requires specialist management.

(5kg is roughly equivalent to a full domestic kitchen caddy)

There is a prohibition on the landfilling of separately collected food waste from 1 April 2015. The regulations also introduce a duty on businesses to ensure food waste is not deposited in a lateral drain or sewer from 1 April 2017.

DAERA: Regulatory position statement – Food Waste Guidance

In Scotland

If you are a food business you must be prepared to present food waste for separate collection.

Exempt businesses

Your food businesses are exempt from the regulations only if:

  • your premises are located in a rural area (as defined by the Scottish Government)
  • you produce less than 5kg of food waste per week
  • you deal with catering waste from international transport (Category 1 animal by-products) where existing controls still apply.

You can find out if your business is located in a rural area by searching the list of postcodes published by the Scottish Government.

Scottish Government: Defining rural and non-rural areas to support zero waste policies

The use of macerators to dispose of food waste in the sewer system is now banned, except for domestic premises and food producers in rural areas.

Duty of care – your waste responsibilities

Further information

DAERA: Animal by-products guidance (Northern Ireland)

DAERA: Regulatory position statement – Food Waste Guidance

Scottish Government: Animal by-products

In this Guideline

What are animal by-products?

Categories of animal by-products

Disposing of animal by-products

Animal carcass disposal

Disposing of food waste and catering waste

Transporting animal by-products

Handling and storage of animal by-products

Animal by-products and food waste environmental legislation

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