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


North Americans consider roughly 50% of an animal as 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 material waste, what rendering means, and why using the rendering process is the smart choice.

What is rendering? Short for agricultural rendering, the term rendering simply means recycling and eliminating waste. The rendering process reclaims material like protein, bone, and fat, as well as used cooking oil (UCO) from restaurants. When we render material safely and hygienically, we process the material in a sustainably safe manner. As a result, we convert material 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 by purposely using everything from the animal. In other words, no part of the animal goes to waste. 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. Because rendering saves landfill space and recycles 99% of unwanted material, people feel confident knowing they are making a sustainable choice by using items made through upcycling rendered material. Once the rendering process is complete, the ingredients can be used in sustainable production of new goods. These new goods are transformed into common every day items, such as:

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

Eco-Friendly Solution

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

  • Food waste
  • Saves landfill space
  • Reduces GHG
  • Reclaims and returns clean water
  • Provides countless recycled products.

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

Impact on Environment

Rendering reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 72%. In comparison to petroleum diesels, rendering reduces fossil fuel use by 80%. In addition, it also avoids at least 90% of the potential GHG emissions compared with industrial composting. In other words, rendering is the GHG reduction equivalent of removing approximately 18.5 million cars off the road each year.

Water quality can also be improved by rendering. Billions of gallons of water are reclaimed during the rendering process, which is then released back into the environment. The water returns as clean water to local rivers and streams. In fact, the rendering process of water meets and sometimes exceeds federal, state, and local safety standards after it is returned to it’s natural location.

Social and Economic Impact

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

Renderers contribute greatly to their neighborhoods and wider communities. From supporting the local little league and fire department, to helping feed and support those in need, renderers are deeply rooted in social sustainability and community support.

Most rendering plants are family owned and operated. Many rendering companies are dedicated and passionate about providing community care and outreach. 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.


  • Visit a rendering plant or farm and learn about the rendering process.
  • 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. 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 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. The NARA advocates for a sustainable food chain, public health, and the environment through the production and marketing of their members’ products and services.

The NARA promotes the greater use of animal by-products by fostering the opening and expansion of trade between foreign buyers and North American exporters. In addition to their U.S.-based headquarters, the NARA maintain offices in Mexico and Hong Kong. Market consultants are also located in Brussels, China, Thailand, Vietnam, and Chile.