Potential Impacts of New York State’s Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Law on Diet Composition, Milk Production, and Emissions in the New York Dairy Industry

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Food waste accumulating in landfills has become an increasing issue in the face of global warming. Over 30% of food collects in landfills where it will decompose into methane. New York State recently passed the Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Law, which mandates that businesses creating over two tons of food waste per week find an alternative way to dispose of food waste to prevent it from entering landfills. Feeding food waste to livestock is one way to accomplish this. Food waste donated to dairy farms is a heterogeneous mixture consisting of fruits, vegetables, and bakery-related goods. In this study, I first aimed to examine the nutrient variability of this type of food waste. I studied key nutrients for dairy cattle nutrition including fats, sugar, starch, fiber, and crude protein. Second, I estimated milk production for diets with a 1 to 5% inclusion rate of food waste. Lastly, I evaluated the potential emission reductions when food waste was included from 1 to 5%. To determine the variability in nutritional quality of food waste, I collected three independent samples of food waste with duplicate subsamples biweekly for seven weeks and sent them to DairyOne for composition analysis. Sugar and starch were the most variable nutrients. Using CNCPS, I determined that the diet with a 5% inclusion rate was best for milk production, which produced a predicted 45.9 kg milk / day. I evaluated the potential emissions reduction of 60,000 kilograms of CH4 for every 5 million kilograms of food waste used.

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dairy cattle, food waste, nutrient composition, variation


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Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


dissertation or thesis

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