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UConn uses Somat DeHydrator System
to combat waste and cut costs

UConn LogoFour 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 looked back.

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

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UConn uses Somat DeHydrator System to combat waste and cut costs