Waste Management for Abattoirs in Kenya

Waste Management for Abattoirs in Kenya

Waste Management for Abattoirs in Kenya is a problematic issue that needs stricter guidelines and initiatives for better and meaningful results.

Slaughterhouses are among the leading environmental pollutants in the country, especially in urban areas. That means proper waste disposal methods are necessary and should be enforced to deal effectively with the menace. Both urban and rural authorities should ensure that each slaughterhouse is equipped with the proper waste disposal tools and mechanisms, without which they should not be allowed to operate.

This post will discuss abattoir waste and how it should be effectively handled to ensure minimum environmental impact. Keep reading the article for a better understanding of the topic.

Table of Contents

Abattoir waste is any part of an animal that is deemed useless after its slaughter and needs to be discarded. That means that all animal parts that cannot be used as human food or as raw materials for other industrial processes. With the rising need for food due to the increasing population in Kenya, slaughterhouse waste is generated in large quantities.

Slaughterhouses generate three types of waste, that is solid, liquid, and gas, as explained below:

Abattoir solid waste

Slaughterhouse solid waste is that which does not dissolve. It is mainly made up of bones, feathers, hair, undigested feeds, and also aborted fetuses. Solid slaughterhouse waste is the most dangerous to the environment, especially the parts that decompose. The waste also may contain pathogens (disease-carrying agents) that endanger human health.

Abattoir liquid waste

Slaughterhouse liquid waste is comprised of water-related parts of the waste. That means the elements contained in the wastewater, like blood, urine, water, dissolved solids, and gut contents. The wastewater will have high levels of fats, proteins, and other microorganisms that are washed away during carcass cleaning.

Abattoir gas waste

Slaughterhouse gas waste is mainly the odours and gaseous emissions produced during the process. Abattoir gas waste is not typically considered significant since it is hardly noticed. But then these emissions and odours present a challenge to the neighbouring community since living in such a neighbourhood with the foul smell from the slaughterhouse becomes hard.

Slaughterhouse Waste Characteristics and Generation

To better understand slaughterhouse waste, you should know the various slaughter processes and the waste they generate.

  • Receiving livestock and cleaning. The first step in a slaughterhouse involves the reception of animals and the subsequent washing to make them clean before the actual slaughter begins. The waste produced manure, urine, wastewater, and odour.
  • Stunning and bleeding. The next step is the animals’ stunning, striking, and bleeding. The waste produced is blood and wastewater.
  • Scalding. The next step is to treat the carcass with warm water or steam to ensure that the removal of hair or feather is easier. The process is known as scalding, and the waste generated at this stage is blood, wastewater, and odour.
  • De-hairing, picking, and singing. Removal of hair and picking feathers is the next step. Singeing is slightly burning the carcass to remove any remaining hairs or feathers. The waste generated at this stage is hair, feathers, odour, wastewater, and toenails.
  • Dressing. It is the removal of the hide, head, hoofs, and spurs. Most of these parts removed at this stage are considered animal byproducts and will need a separate treatment procedure before they can be converted into a useful form. The waste generated at this stage is head (including horns and beaks), hooves, and hides.
  • Evisceration. After the carcass dressing, evisceration follows. It is the removal of the internal organs of the animal or bird. The waste generated is blood, offal (edible and non-edible), casing, other stomach contents, paunch manure, wastewater, and odour.
  • Cutting and boning. It is the last process before the meat is ready for consumption. The waste generated is bones, fat trims, and wastewater.

The process of waste management for slaughterhouses in Kenya categorizes animal/bird byproducts into two, edible and non-edible.

Edible byproducts are animal parts that are not part of the main meat but can still be used as human food after a simple further process. These products include kidneys, liver, heart, and gizzards. They will need to be specially cleaned before they are suitable for consumption.

Non-edible byproducts are those animal parts that cannot be turned into human food. These include hair, feathers, hooves, beaks, spurs, and horns. Although these parts are not edible, nowadays, they can be used as industrial raw materials for making other products like animal feeds, pet feeds, and chicken feeds, and also in the garment industry to make clothing accessories.

Waste Management for Abattoirs in Kenya

The following practices have been adopted or should be adopted in waste management for slaughterhouses in Kenya.

1. Proper Manufacturing and Hygiene Practices

Failure to adhere to proper manufacturing and hygiene practices is the root cause of slaughterhouse pollution. During slaughter and dressing, abattoirs do not pay enough attention to safety. That leads to environmental contamination and the spread of zoonotic diseases to other animals and people. Hooves, hides, and offal contents are the primary contaminants when proper abattoir practices are not followed.

Illegal slaughterhouses, or those that authorities have not approved, are the main culprits of environmental contamination. They usually throw the condemned parts in community areas like dustbins while the offals are cleaned at the local shops. That is a severe threat to the environment and the neighbouring community.

In waste management or slaughterhouses in Kenya, the authorities should ensure that all animals and birds are slaughtered in approved slaughterhouses. To avoid leakage, they should also ensure that all animal offals are adequately sealed before cleaning.

2. Wastewater Management for Abattoirs in Kenya

Liquid/effluent/wastewater management for abattoirs in Kenya is essential to all slaughterhouses. Slaughterhouses use immense levels of water in almost every stage of the slaughter process. That means they generate considerable amounts of wastewater that should be treated before it is released into the environment.

In the past, wastewater from abattoirs was discharged into the existing sewage systems. But that is no longer the case. That is because slaughterhouse wastewater contains more solid matter than the acceptable levels contained in domestic waste. That means every slaughterhouse should have its water treatment facility.

Wastewater treatment for abattoirs

The process of wastewater treatment from slaughterhouses follows the following steps:

Step 1. Screening. It is the process of removing large solids from the effluent. Large meat pieces, bones, and feathers will be removed at this stage. Removing these solids protects the cleaning and treatment machinery. The removed solids can be taken for further treatment or disposed of in landfills or mass graves. Some treatment plants can also have a second screening. That further reduces the work done at the subsequent cleaning and treatment stages.

Step 2. Primary treatment. It is for separating smaller solid particles from the effluent. Here, the effluent goes through large tanks at reduced speeds to allow the solids to either sink (sedimentation) or float. Oils and grease are the materials that will generally float. The wastewater treatment equipment used at this stage is inexpensive since it depends on the weight of the solids to be removed.

Step 3. Secondary treatment. It involves breaking the dissolved solid matter through biological means. Special enzymes and microbes are used to digest any organic matter contained in the effluent. The treatment can be through an oxidation process (aerobic) or anaerobic means. The special enzymes (bacteria) will metabolize the organic matter into water and less harmful gases like carbon dioxide. The anaerobic process can also produce methane (biogas), which can be used for energy purposes in the slaughterhouse.

Step 4. Tertiary treatment. It is used to remove odour and colour from the effluent. It follows through a series of filters made of a coarse, medium, and fine material that effectively eliminates any colour or odour in the effluent. Sand, charcoal, and activated carbon are the materials that can be used at this stage due to their affinity for organic matter.

Step 5. Disinfection. It is the last step in wastewater management for abattoirs in Kenya. Agents like chlorine and hydrogen peroxide are the widely used means of disinfecting water before it is discharged into the environment. The water at this stage may contain disease-causing bacteria, hence the need for chemical treatment. The water produced after the chemical treatment can also be used back in the washing and cleaning process of the slaughter activities.

Biozone Wastewater Treatment Plant

For better wastewater management for abattoirs in Kenya, you will need to know about the various wastewater treatment options available. At Biozone Kenya, we offer consultancy based on the kind of liquid waste you generate so that you may be better placed to have the best Liquid waste treatment plant for your establishment. Biozone offers three alternatives for liquid/water treatment, as explained below:

1. Primary Liquid Waste Treatment plant

Biological treatment is not always the best or the complete solution to wastewater management for abattoirs in Kenya. The wide range of possible impurities in slaughterhouse wastewater streams sometimes requires employing several physical-chemical treatment steps to remove the solid matter to a level that will allow for the discharge or reuse of the wastewater.

Dissolved solid matter, suspended matter, fats, oils, and grease (FOG) can require other technologies and solutions for effective treatment. For a low-cost abattoir liquid waste treatment plant, consult Biozone Kenya today.

2. Anaerobic Liquid Waste Treatment Plant

Without oxygen, many anaerobic microorganisms work together to decompose organic matter. The microbiology behind the process is more complex and delicate than that of aerobic processes, where most bacteria work individually. It is mainly why anaerobic systems require greater control and monitoring to perform efficiently.

This type of treatment is very effective in the removal of biodegradable organic compounds. It is especially suitable for organic wastes and wastewater streams highly loaded with organic matter. It converts them to mostly methane gas and carbon dioxide, with minimal excess sludge generation. 

For anaerobic wastewater treatment for a slaughterhouse in Kenya, you can contact Biozone for the best deals.

3. Aerobic Liquid Waste Treatment Plant

Highly effective and able to generate very high-quality effluents, aerobic biological wastewater treatment processes were once the solution applied to treat most types of industrial wastewater. The process is mainly used as a polishing step after anaerobic treatment.

However, when strict discharge requirements are present, it is still impossible to design a complete biological treatment for any wastewater without applying at least one aerobic step. Therefore, our portfolio of technologies also includes various aerobic treatment systems. This way, we can offer you a complete range of wastewater treatment solutions to meet any discharge requirements. For further inquiries on aerobic wastewater treatment, contact Biozone Kenya.

Liquid Waste Treatment Enzymes and Microbes

Biozone Environzyme BFB

The Environzyme BFB is a microbiological combination of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria and multi enzymes that break down wastewater to clean effluent. It is a dry free flowing powder that contains a concentrated source of free-flowing hydrolytic enzymes and ten strains of natural bacteria capable of producing enzymes in wastewater treatment systems under aerobic and anaerobic conditions.

Whether in the Biozone Wastewater Treatment Plants or an existing wastewater treatment plant already in your establishment, the Environzyme BFB is the enzyme and microbial formula you will need to break down and digest organic matter effectively.

The notable advantages of Environzyme BFB are:

  • More volumes will be digested, and hence the sludge volume will be reduced.
  • Eradicates bad odour.
  • To pump and dewater the sludge will be easier.
  • Your treatment capacity will increase since more organic matter will be digested.
  • The time taken to digest organic matter is less.
  • The treatment system is easily balanced.
  • The aeration stage in the treatment will be faster and more effective.
  • The digesters will perform evenly and uniformly since the organic matter is adequately digested.

3. Solid Waste Management for Abattoirs in Kenya

Solid waste management for abattoirs in Kenya is also essential to any slaughter activities. Non-edible offals, meat parts, whole carcasses, and aborted fetuses are some of the slaughterhouse solid waste that should be managed, treated, and safely disposed of.

The following are methods of solid waste management for abattoirs in Kenya:

1. Rendering

Rendering should be the first solution to solid waste management for abattoirs in Kenya. It is the mechanical, thermal, and chemical treatment of any solid part or whole carcass of an animal or bird to produce pelleted sol fertilizers or animal feeds. Meat and bone meal (MBM) and tallow (fats and oils) are the most commonly produced products under this process. The MBM is useful as animal feed, while the tallow is mainly used in the pharmaceutical, soap, and cosmetic industries.

Rendering has been hailed as among the cheapest methods of solid waste management for abattoirs in Kenya. The only other method cheaper than rendering is composting. The main shortcoming of rendering is that it requires further processing, which means additional machinery and equipment which might be expensive for the slaughterhouse.

2. Anaerobic digestion

In solid waste management for abattoirs in Kenya, anaerobic digestion is used to make biogas. The process involves breaking down organic matter using special enzymes and microbes to produce gas and slurry. The process is used for both liquid and solid waste. The waste is pumped into special tanks/lagoons without oxygen, and the enzymes are added for the process to begin. Biogas production will produce energy used in the slaughterhouse and slurry that can be sold as organic fertilizers.

The downside of anaerobic digestion in waste management for slaughterhouses in Kenya is that it requires substantial additional investments in the biogas production plant. If poorly designed, it can lead to leakages that produce a foul smell. For experts in biogas plant design and construction, contact Biozone Kenya.

3. Burial and landfills

Burial and landfills are also used as waste management for abattoirs in Kenya. The methods are primarily practised in rural areas with enough open land. The technique is not recommended since it wastes valuable materials and nutrients. The burial site or landfill should be filled immediately and deep enough to keep animals away. The site should also be marked with proper records kept showing the amount of waste buried on each site.

4. Incineration

Incineration is another method of solid waste management for abattoirs in Kenya. It involves burning all waste in high temperatures until it is reduced to ash. If incineration is carried out correctly, it will kill all pathogens and minimize waste by almost 95%. The only downside of using incineration in waste management for slaughterhouses in Kenya is that the process is expensive, requires specialized incinerators, and produces greenhouse gases.

5. Composting

Composting is the last method used in waste management for slaughterhouses in Kenya. It involves the decomposition of organic matter in the presence of oxygen. For sanitary purposes, composting should be done on pits, bunkers, or biodigesters. Biozone supplies special biodigesters for slaughterhouses in Kenya. Composting waste is the cheapest method of waste management for slaughterhouses in Kenya. The downsides of this method are that the process of fully composting significant waste remains may take too long and that it is not suitable to handle bones and hides.

4. Gas and Odor Waste Management for Abattoirs in Kenya

All waste materials easily decompose which makes slaughterhouses have a distinct foul smell. The odour and gas produced by slaughterhouses also become a nuisance to the neighbouring people. To avoid this, slaughterhouses should be cleaned using disinfectants. Also, all slaughterhouses should be located in isolated places away from residential areas. That will help keep any odour or gases away from the people.

Importance of Waste Management for Abattoirs in Kenya

Waste management for slaughterhouses in Kenya is important because:

  • Increased returns for abattoirs. If the byproducts are effectively utilized, they will be a source of extra income for the slaughterhouse. That will make the slaughterhouse more profitable.
  • The factories established to use animal byproducts to make glue, combs, buttons, gelatin, brushes, lubricants, and grease provide employment opportunities, especially in the urban areas, for those who are unemployed.
  • Bone meal is a useful ingredient in the making of pig and poultry feeds. They provide high-nutrient feeds to the pigs and birds.
  • Using stomach contents and other waste parts to produce biogas helps provide energy and saves the environment.
  • Slaughterhouse waste used for composting provides farmers with cheap alternative organic fertilizers for crop farming.

FAQs About Waste Management for Abattoirs in Kenya

What wastes are generated in slaughterhouses?

Many people ask what kind of waste is generated in slaughterhouses. They are usually solid, liquid, and gas wastes. The pollutants are mainly animal faeces, blood, bone, fat, animal trimmings, paunch content, and urine. If not properly managed, these wastes will cause severe environmental pollution which will be detrimental to people, animals, and plants.

Can slaughterhouse waste pass on animal diseases to people?

There are those who ask if animal diseases can be passed to people through slaughterhouse waste. The answer is YES. Dangerous bacteria such as faecal coliforms and Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Shigella, Vibrio cholerae as well as Pseudomonas aeruginosa can all be passed to humans and other animals by coming into contact with abattoir waste containing the said bacteria.

Which is the cheapest way to deal with abattoir waste?

There are those who ask which is the cheapest method of dealing with abattoir waste. Composting is the cheapest way to manage and deal with slaughterhouse waste. If properly done, it will provide organic fertilizer at minimal extra cost.


Waste management for abattoirs in Kenya should be encouraged and strictly enforced. Every slaughterhouse should be able to prove how it will deal with its waste before it is allowed to operate. A wastewater treatment plant, a compost/biodigester, and possibly an incinerator should all be part of the slaughterhouse machinery and equipment.

For effective waste management for slaughterhouses in Kenya, you will need the help of experts. Biozone Kenya is the leading waste management and consultancy firm in the country. Contact us for the latest technology in waste management.

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  1. Good work ,have done something to one Slaughter slab and may need your professional on site advice

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