A two-phase investigation of food plants consisted of field visits to 55 locations to view waste handling methods and then a single site analysis in which in-plant waste reduction was emphasized.

Phase I showed that personnel in one plant only measured waste discharge volumes. Only 16 of the 55 plant supervisors could assign a dollar value to their firm's waste handling program. The total sampling indicated that 41.7% of the sites had waste disposal systems approved by an appropriate regulatory agency, 29.3% used systems that did not have such approval, 29% utilized municipal systems, and 16.6% discharged wastes as land irrigation.

Phase II singled out one processing plant which was subjected to measures emphasizing in-plant actions to minimize waste. This plant reduced its waste volume by 50%. Segregation of product rinsings reduced the daily pounds of BOD generated by as much as 50%. In addition, data were collected to show the value of detergent reuse.

A new use for waste recording information developed from monitoring waste effluents. The performance of management and production workers can be graded by waste production indices. Inexpensive equipment such as temperature recorders, conductivity scanners, and weir measuring devices can be used to pinpoint weaknesses in plant operations. Not only can waste handling costs be reduced, but in-plant savings of raw materials can produce a new source of revenue.

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Author notes

1Present address: Crowley Milk Company, Binghamton, New York.