Reducing Food waste one pig at a time

Carrot peelings. Stale bread. Sour milk. It sounds like garbage to us. But for a pig, it’s fine dining.

A new partnership with two local farms is funneling tons (literally) of kitchen waste from the college’s dining halls and catering operation into the troughs of hungry pigs. Because of food safety regulations, only pre-consumer food waste can be used, but there’s still plenty to go around. Up to two tons are collected in college kitchens each month and picked up twice weekly by local pig farmers.

Though the savings resulting from reducing the amount of garbage the college produces is minimal, there are broader environmental and ethical reasons for decreasing food waste. “Food waste is a global issue,” said Diane Williams, executive director of Oneonta Auxiliary Services. “Producing grain and soy to feed animals causes deforestation and pollution, and diverts crops from the food supply. By partnering with local farmers to reduce waste, we’re contributing to the solution, not the problem.”

Other college efforts, led by Oneonta Auxiliary Services and Sodexo, include implementing the LeanPath food waste tracking program to cut pre-consumer waste, and turning post-consumer waste (uneaten food that students throw away) into compost using an aerated static pile composting system.

Pigs at Stone & Thistle Farm in East Meredith, NY, will soon chow down on food scraps from SUNY Oneonta’s dining halls through a new partnership to recycle food waste.
Photo by Michael Forster Rothbart

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