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Darling Ingredients: The greenest company on the planet

A look at a global company that collects and converts food waste into ingredients essential for nutrition and sustainable energy. Also see new innovations for a circular economy.

Demand on natural resources is increasing. With more mouths to feed and more reasons to maintain our planet, top minds in sustainability are looking for ways to meet the growing need that doesn’t take a greater toll on the environment. Since 1882, Darling Ingredients has been one of the leading sustainable solution providers in the world. Extending the lifetime of natural resources is not a good-will initiative they maintain for press; it is their sole initiative.

“Darling was green before green was cool,” said Randall C. Stuewe, Chairman and CEO, Darling Ingredients Inc. “We’ve always been the original recycler, we were the guys that were taking products that were either going be left out on the field – put in a landfill, or composted – and converted them back into sustainable ingredients.”

The ingredients recovered from these raw materials are vital. Protein and gelatin are retrieved and utilized to perfect food products around the world. High-quality porcine mucosa is essential for the creation of heparin, a clinical deterrent for blood clots. Protein-rich animal co-product is used for high-quality pet food and commercial-grade organic fertilizer. Even used cooking oil from restaurants and expired meats from grocery stores are collected by Darling and converted into cleaner-burning renewable diesel fuel. In fact, Darling is the largest company in the world that both produces renewable diesel and collects the organic waste fats and oils required to make it. Altogether, Darling Ingredients stops more organic material from going to landfills than any company on Earth.

However, repurposing waste streams will only take the population halfway to global homeostasis. That is why Darling’s EnviroFlight business line is innovating new means of alternative protein production using the hidden potential of black soldier flies. Black soldier flies can produce 1,000 times more protein in a given space than any other livestock. EnviroFlight has not only developed processes to grow black soldier flies using waste streams from the food production industry, it has discovered how to produce and harvest black soldier fly protein on a scalable level. Combined with its hypo-allergenic qualities, black soldier fly protein is the future of animal feed and pet food.

“When I look at Darling, I say we are the greenest company on the planet,” continued Stuewe. “There’s no one that does what we do, has more fun at it, and is better at it in the world.”

There is no singular answer to the environmental challenges our planet faces. It will take numerous solutions using existing expertise and knowledge we must strive to acquire. That is why Darling Ingredients is working with partners from numerous industries to address the needs of our growing population and reach the ultimate sustainability goal.


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