What Really Happens to the Butter Sculpture?

Author: Patrick Carney | September 02, 2020


What Really Happens to the Butter Sculpture?

What a waste of butter!

We hear that from people every year as we unveil the annual butter sculpture at the New York State Fair.

So, is it true? Is it a waste? The simple answer is no.

First, the butter used in the sculpture is called “scrap butter”. That means that it was either damaged in processing, packaging or otherwise deemed to be non-consumable. So, instead of throwing it out, our sculptors create a beautiful piece of art that thousands enjoy every year (even virtually this year).

But, what happens next? Is it just sent to a landfill?

Again, the answer is no!

Each year the sculpture is deconstructed, and the butter is packed up and sent to Noblehurst Farms, a local dairy farm. Once on the farm, the butter is put into a machine called a digester that can turn food waste into electricity!

It’s not uncommon for farms to take food waste from local businesses, restaurants or even schools and recycle it into electricity or liquid fertilizer for their land.

So, instead of the damaged “scrap butter” being thrown out, thousands enjoy it as a work of art before it’s responsibly recycled and turned into energy! Maybe that’s why farmers are known as the original environmentalists!


American Dairy Association North East is one of 16 state and regional promotion organizations working under the umbrella of the United Dairy Industry Association. It is the local affiliate of the National Dairy Council®, which has been conducting nutrition education and nutrition research programs since 1915. For more information, visit www.americandairy.com.