We love a good composting article here at TreeHugger. We've shown you how to compost in a small city kitchen, a big backyard and everything in between, but outside of the likeminded world of these pages, there are people who still see composting as too much of a hassle, too messy, too smelly.
How do we get those people to reduce the food waste they send to the landfill?
The solution might be this new Zera Food Recycler from Whirlpool's innovation incubator, WLabs, which Derek wrote about just a few months ago. The indoor machine serves as a collection bin for kitchen scraps throughout the week and then, as the company claims, turns them into nutrient-rich fertilizer in just 24 hours without any offensive smells along the way.
If the product's Indiegogo campaign is any indication, people are very interested. The gadget has already raised over 6 times its crowdfunding goal and there are still 12 days left.
Each week, users place a paper additive packet consisting of coconut husk fibers and baking soda into the bin, which acts as the brown material that aids the decomposition of food scraps. Then throughout the week they add all of their food scraps, including meat and dairy (sans bones), which is off limits in composting. When the bin is full, users push the "Start" button and the machine begins heating, slicing, mixing and aerating the scraps and within 24 hours the scraps are transformed into fertilizer, retrievable from the bottom of the bin. A HEPA filter keeps smells at bay.
Of course, because everything is smart and connected these days, the machine can be controlled and monitored from a smartphone app.
While we tend to prefer low tech approaches like backyard composting, there's no arguing that the 400 pounds a year of food waste that the average family discards is a problem. If a gadget like this one gets more people reusing food waste and gardening and reduces landfill waste, that could be a major win. And as Derek pointed out, "we're also approaching peak soil and peak fertilizer, and need to close the circle, so to speak on organic materials, in order to grow more sustainably for an increasingly populated world." This gadget may get more people involved in closing that circle.
Many of the early bird prices for the machine have sold out, but for those interested there are still Food Recyclers available at the $999 pledge level with a delivery projection of September 2017. The creators say the machine will have a retail price of $1,199 when it hits the market.