Material

Meat and bone meal

By

Made in

Animal material 63 Biodegradable 245 Bioplastic 80 Recyclable 128 Recycled 130 Textile 97 Agar agar 23 Glycerine 38 Water 33

Meat and bone meal
Meat and bone meal
Meat and bone meal
Meat and bone meal
Meat and bone meal
Meat and bone meal
Meat and bone meal
Meat and bone meal
Meat and bone meal

Carnifex

While researching the relationship with fire in today’s age of climate crises and wars and the general stigma associated with fire, Lilith came across the material “meat and bone meal“. Meat and bone meal (MBM) is a by-product of the meat industry through livestock farming and meat consumption. Only a certain percentage of the animal is consumed by humans - the rest of the animal is painstakingly disposed of through degreasing, sterilisation, grinding and sieving, turning the remains into a fine powdery substance called MBM. The majority of it ends up in incinerators.

To close the material circle, Lilith documented the organic leather in meat-related contexts. We might be familiar with the ethical issues surrounding the meat industry, its environmental impact, and the malpractices within, but we often forget about the brute logistics within it. “Carnifex” draws attention to these secondary processes that go hand in hand with the consumption of animal products. It also raises the question of whether it is still appropriate to burn most of this resource and provides impetus for a more versatile use of MBM.

Making process

Lilith became aware of the forgotten resource "Meat and Bone Meal“ and decided to experiment with specific bio-leather recipes. The final organic leather recipe consists of water, glycerine, agar-agar and the described meat and bone meal from the industry. The darker leather, that you can see on the apron, was additionally coloured with animal-blood powder. The whole mixture must be heated over 100 degrees to activate the natural gelatine in the meat and bone meal. The liquid is then poured into a drying tray to achieve the final consistency and shape.

In February 2023, she visited a so-called "rendering plant" near Ulm, Germany, with whom she cooperated with. By law, every dead animal must be disposed of in such a facility. The carcasses come off a truck into a shredding machine, water and fat are removed through a press, then the mass is heated to 133 degrees to kill any bacteria. Additionally, any moisture is further removed in a dryer and finally, the material is ground until it looks like flour.

This brute process requires an extremely large amount of energy for the fact that most of the final product is incinerated.

Meat and bone meal is now used exclusively as fertiliser and as animal feed (both to a legally limited extent). Before 2001, when the BSE virus appeared in Europe, meat and bone meal was exclusively intended to be fed to farm animals as a protein-rich feed.

Text submitted by the maker and edited by the Future Materials Bank. For information about reproducing (a part of) this text, please contact the maker.

Ingredients

Meat and bone meal (MBM), agar agar, water, glycerine

Credits

The project was supervised by Design Studio Thus That