Through a partnership between UConn Dining Services and Quantum Biopower, all of UConn's dining hall food waste is transformed into compost and energy. Beyond turning waste into a valuable resource, this process also has broader benefits relating to climate change.
Southington, CT based Quantum Biopower, founded by a UConn alum, uses a process called anaerobic digestion to break down food waste using microbes in a contained environment. Naturally occurring methane, a strong greenhouse gas produced by food decomposition, is captured and used as a biofuel to power local municipal buildings. Through combustion, methane is reduced into a far less potent greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide. A compost like co-product is also produced and sold as a soil amendment. While traditional composting also reduces naturally occurring methane during the breakdown of food waste, it requires aerobic digestion, which is often a time and energy intensive process, and fails to capitalize on the energy potential of the resource.
In previous years, Dining Services had tried composting appliances in dining halls, sending composted material to clubs on campus or material to UConn's wastewater treatment plant, before this partnership with Quantum was piloted in 2018 and ultimately expanded campus-wide.
UConn Dining Services champions the reduction of food waste. Read more about all the ways they promote food waste reduction and recycling!