The average American drinks about 300 beers a year—that’s almost six billion pints nationwide. All that beer begins as a boil of grains that are discarded early in the process. Sending thousands of pounds of damp, spent grains to the landfill is not only expensive, it’s a waste of resources. But brewers are an ingenious group, and many—large and small—have found myriad ways to get more mileage from this useful byproduct.
A handful of high-end farm-to-table restaurants in cities like New York City and Orlando have found a new way to get the most out of the close ties they keep with local farmers. Vegetable peelings from the kitchen and leftover fare from diners’ plates is catching a ride back to the farm to become gourmet livestock feed. The arrangement means savings for farmers and, thanks to better-fed birds, cows and pigs, better-tasting meals on customers’ plates.