Let Pigs Eat Waste: Spice Acres to Reduce Landfill Waste and Lower Food Costs by Using Non-Meat Waste from Local Restaurants

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2015: $7,492.00
Projected End Date: 02/15/2017
Region: North Central
State: Ohio
Project Coordinator:
Shawn Belt
Spice Acres
Andrea Heim
Spice Acres

Annual Reports


  • Animals: swine


  • Animal Production: feed/forage

    Proposal summary:

    Spice Acres will collect local restaurant non-meat food waste within a 100-mile radius to supplement our pig feed, thus reducing restaurant landfill waste as well as reducing our pig feed costs, and in the process create a replicable food collection method that can be shared with other area farmers.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    This project aims at specifically answering how much money can be saved in pig feed and how much food can be kept from landfills by feeding restaurant non-meat food waste to pigs.  We will be working with two local farms who are also growing pigs - one farm growing the same exact kind of pigs - to see what their feed costs are compared to Spice Acres.  We also aim to discover the most effective method for capturing and delivering this food waste so that other producers of pigs and food waste can replicate our project.  Using two other area farms as controls, Spice Acres will be able to show the percentage of money savings per pig when conventional feed is supplemented with non-meat food waste.  Spice Acres will also track the costs of collecting food waste, which includes material, personnel, and fuel costs.  

    It is our goal to close the supply and waste loop as much as possible between these three companies.  To this end, our farm will make use of the non-meat food waste from the restaurant and catering company by feeding it to our pigs.  Spice Kitchen + Bar Restaurant and Spice of Life Catering produce 150 lbs of food waste each week combined.  It costs Spice Acres $300 in feed to raise a pig to maturity.  How much can we reduce our pig feed costs by making use of our non-meat food waste from the restaurant and catering company?  What is the best method of collecting and transporting this waste to our farm?  

    There are two main findings that Spice Acres will be looking for in our research.  By using recovered food scraps from local restaurants and using it to feed pigs, did the farm reduce its expenditures on supplemental feed and did the restaurant save money by reducing food waste hauling that would go to a landfill?  If we can raise a healthy pig and find that food costs were lowered and restaurant waste was lowered, then we will know that this project was successful.  

    Specifics that we will measure will be:

    1. percentage of savings in conventional pig feed costs as compared to the control farms costs,
    2. average amount of food waste consumed by pigs on a daily basis through life cycle,
    3. amount of food waste collected from restaurants,
    4. amount of time and fuel used for food waste collection, and
    5. start and finish weights of each pig.  

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.