Have you ever wondered what happens to the nearly half-ton butter sculptures when fairs end? In New York, the answer is simple: It’s recycled.
For eight years, Noblehurst Farms has recycled the New York State Fair’s famous butter sculpture — turning dairy and other waste into electricity.
From there, the dairy farm mixed the butter, provided by O-AT-KA Milk Producers in Batavia, N.Y., with food waste and cow manure into the farm’s anaerobic digester. The methane is then burned off, leaving electricity.
Each year, the digester breaks down materials to create enough electricity to power their dairy, creamery, and about 350 homes. The butter from this year’s sculpture is estimated to power one home for up to three days.
“We are honored to be recycling the New York State Fair Butter Sculpture for the eighth year in a row,” said Jack Klapper, co-owner of Noblehurst Farms. “We will mix the butter sculpture with other food waste and convert it to energy over the course of about 28 days. That energy will be turned into electricity, which will power homes in the local community.”
According to the American Dairy Association North East, Noblehurst Farm has been nationally recognized for its achievements in sustainability and community partnerships. Their efforts to divert food waste from local landfills keep 200 tons of food waste from local landfills each week.
“Our awareness of the role that dairy farmers are playing in addressing the global food waste problem has definitely heightened,” said Klapper. “We are hopeful that our innovative food waste reduction practices will bring additional value as New York State focuses on reducing methane and sequestering carbon in the coming years.”
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