US town sees benefits from collecting brewery wastes for animal feed

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis contact

- Last updated on GMT

©GettyImages/Tumsasdgans
©GettyImages/Tumsasdgans

Related tags: Food waste

The Town of Brookhaven, New York is seeing state support for its brewery by-product recycling program that turns spent grain into animal feed.

The by-product recycling and alternative feed program, called “Brew to Moo,”​ received a $33,350 grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to partially cover the price of a rack-truck that will be used for the recycling and larger organics collection program, said Ed Romaine, supervisor for Brookhaven Town.

“The state grant is providing partial reimbursement for a rack-truck dedicated to recycling and organics collection,” ​he told FeedNavigator. “The grant also provides partial reimbursement for other equipment needed for Brew to Moo – containers to collect grains in and a hand truck to assist in the movement of the containers.”

The town started the brewery by-product recycling program in mid-2017 as a way to address the growth in by-products generated by an expanding craft beer business, he said.

“The town’s Department of Recycling and Sustainable Materials Management set eyes on brewery waste as a component of the of the waste stream that could be diverted with means other than incineration - composting or feeding to animals."

By-product use and sustainability

The collection effort currently works with several local breweries and gathers spent grains generated during the brewing process, said Romaine. It also has been expanded to collect coffee grounds, but those are not used in animal feed.

“Addressing food waste or food by-products should be an issue of interest for any municipality,”​ he said. “Food waste can make up around 20% by weight of the municipal waste stream.”

The brewery by-products collected could provide protein and fiber that can supplement corn in an animal feed. The material is picked up by the town and delivered to participating farms.

Organic recycling and food waste programs have been starting in several areas, said Romaine. “Organics recycling – whether it is composting, feeding, digestion, etc - is the next big step of materials management,”​ he added.

The Brew to Moo program is one of Brookhaven’s initial steps into the area of organic and food waste recycling, he said. The project seeks to highlight alternative methods of disposing of organic material or generated by-products. 

Currently, four breweries are taking part in the by-product collection process, he said. These include Brickhouse Brewery, Port Jeff Brewery, Rocky Point Artisan Brewers and Bellport Brewery.

The Double D Bar Ranch is one of two farms also participating in the program, and the only one feeding its animals with the collected grains, he said.

“The town is receptive to more farms or breweries [or] coffee roasters signing up,”​ said Romaine. “The town would also be more than happy to put farmers in direct contact with brewers.”

Since August, the program has collected about 71 tons of organic by-products, he said. Of that, about 64.3 tons have been spent grains that became animal feed, the remaining material was composted.

“The town is beginning its foray into the world of organics, with Brew to Moo being an example of how there are other ways to dispose of food waste besides conventional landfilling or incineration,”​ he added.

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