(Last Updated On: March 8, 2023)


National Rendering Day is on April 21 and we are celebrating by bringing awareness to reducing and eliminating food waste through a process known as rendering.


North Americans consider roughly 50% of an animal inedible. This leaves a lot of leftover material that ends up as food waste. On National Rendering Day, we learn about how we can eliminate this waste, what rendering means, and why using the rendering process is the smart choice.

What is rendering? In short, rendering is recycling from that 50% of the animal we don’t eat. Rendering reclaims the otherwise wasted material, such as protein, bone, and fat and even includes used cooking oil (UCO) from restaurants. The rendering process safely, hygienically, and sustainably processes that unused material (the meat we don’t eat) into new products and goods so nothing is wasted. When we render material safely and hygienically, we process the material in a sustainable and safe manner. In addition, we convert what would have been food waste into material for use in new products.

Rendering demonstrates respect and resourcefulness, especially for the livestock that were raised with care by farmers. In fact, rendering shows respect for the animal itself by using all of the animal. In other words, no part of the animal goes to waste. Additionally, by offsetting the environmental impacts of animal agriculture, rendering shrinks our food production footprint.

Rendering Process

The rendering process transforms and upcycles what would have been food waste into safe, clean, and valuable ingredients for countless new goods. Rendering also saves landfill space and recycles 99% of unwanted material. For this reason, people can feel confident knowing they are making a sustainable choice by using items made through upcycling by rendering material. Once the rendering process is complete, the ingredients can be used in sustainable production of new goods. These new goods transform into common everyday items, such as:

  • Safe and nutritious pet food and animal feed.
  • Household and industrial products.
  • Biofuels and Biomass-based diesel.
  • Renewable diesel.

Eco-Friendly Solution

Rendering is socially and economically sustainable and supports the three pillars of sustainability–environmental, social, and economic. As a highly environmentally sustainable process, rendering:

  • Reduces food waste.
  • Saves landfill space.
  • Reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
  • Reclaims and returns clean water to the environment.
  • Provides countless recycled products.

Impact on Environment

According to recent data published in 2020, the U.S. and Canada annually produce more than 62 billion pounds of rendered raw materials. As a result of rendering that material, we can produce approximately 31.4 billion pounds of rendered products each year, keeping it out of landfills.

The data also reports that rendering reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 72% when compared to  petroleum diesels, and reduces fossil fuel use by 80%. In comparison to industrial composting, rendering  avoids at least 90% of the potential GHG emissions. Simply put, rendering is the GHG reduction equivalent of removing approximately 18.5 million cars off the road each year.

Social and Economic Impact

Rendering is a financially sound and community-focused industry, offering career stability and a commitment to community support. Socially, the act of rendering food provides thousands of full-time, stable jobs that support families and local communities from coast to coast, especially in rural areas. Most importantly, local jobs stay local because of the raw and perishable nature of the material being rendered.

Most rendering plants are family owned and operated. Many rendering companies are dedicated and passionate about providing community care and outreach. Renderers also contribute to their neighborhoods and wider communities. From supporting the local little league and fire departments, to helping feed and support those in need, renderers are deeply rooted in social sustainability and community support.

Plant owners invest a considerable amount of time and money to improve and enhance their sustainability efforts. This dedication ensures their facilities remain as climate smart and environmentally responsible as possible.


  • Encourage rendering in your community.
  • Learn important facts about rendering and the important impact it has on the environment.
  • Encourage friends and neighbors to support rendering efforts in their communities.
  • Listen to The Invisible Industry podcast to grow awareness and appreciation for rendering’s important contributions to sustainability and reduced food waste.
  • Share your rendering support on social media using #NationalRenderingDay and tagging a renderer you know.


National Day Calendar and the North American Renderers Association (NARA) are happy to announce National Rendering Day to be celebrated each year on April 21. This day has been created to show appreciation for those in the rendering industry. The date was intentionally chosen to be near Earth Day to remind everyone the importance of rendering in the larger sustainability and reduced food waste conversations. Today, we encourage everyone to recognize and celebrate the many environmental benefits of rendering, including the  important role in reducing food waste and overall sustainability.

The North American Renderers Association (NARA) is an alliance that represents the best interests of its members in public, government, and regulatory affairs. The organization provides services, programs, and technical support to the North American rendering industry, both in the national and international markets. Their vision is to deliver sustainable solutions to food, feed, fuel, oleochemical, and other customers. NARA advocates for a sustainable food chain, public health, and the environment through the production and marketing of their members’ products and services.

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