UConn uses Somat DeHydrator System
to combat waste and cut costs
Four years ago, University of Connecticut
Dining Services Director Dennis Pierce was
strolling the National Restaurant Show in
Chicago when he spotted the Somat food
waste dehydrators on display. Though he did
not purchase it that day, Pierce was intrigued
with the equipment. The University bought
the machine the next year and has not
The University, located in Storrs, has 12,000
people on campus. 12,000 people make
a lot of waste. The Somat DH100 was
purchased for the largest dining hall, South,
to help combat that waste and cut costs.
The by-product of the machine is a baked,
gritty, earthy substance that Pierce said his
colleagues can hardly believe was ever smelly
food waste. He often brings a plastic bag of
the by-product to meetings to show and, at
first, many raise their eyebrows at the mystery
substance. They are surprised to learn
that the end product does not smell nor does
it have a mushy, crumbly texture. In the past,
the University worked with large farmers
in the area to recycle and compost its food
waste; yet the process was messy and
inconvenient. Food scraps sat in plastic drums
awaiting transport to the farms and caused
a foul odor during summer months. Then,
Connecticut issued a statement explaining
that raw food could not be fed to pigs.
Suddenly, many facilities were out of a place
to deposit food scraps.
Fast-forward to 2011, gone are the days
of the problematic compost process.
Now, maintenance crews on campus mix
the Somat DH100 by-product into the soil
and use it for landscaping purposes. In fact,
the by-product can’t be made fast enough to
fulfill the needs of the University landscapers.
Luckily, the University hopes to buy another
Somat DH100 machine in the next few
months. The goal is for all eight dining halls
to be outfitted with the product.
Learn more about the Somat DeHydrator System