This ingenious digester/composter, made in Ontario, is the simple, natural way to divert food waste from landfills.
No matter how much I think about reducing food waste while shopping and cooking, there will always be food scraps left over. My town does not have green bins or organic waste collection of any kind, which means that each household is responsible for dealing with the piles of food waste generated on a daily basis – and I always have a lot, since I cook so much.
There was a time when I tossed it in with the household garbage, but eventually I installed a regular black box-style composter. While I loved having a place to put most of the food scraps, there were still plenty of items that could not go in, ending up in the trash instead.
Then I discovered the Green Cone. More of a food digester than a composter, this ingenious device is designed and produced in Ontario, Canada since 1988. The Green Cone, which is made of plastic, has a cone-shaped top and an attached basket that gets buried underground below the cone. You dump food scraps into the top, via a hinged lid, and they fall down into the basket. There, the food waste is broken down and consumed by bacteria, fungi, microorganisms, worms, and insects. Over time, as much as 90 percent of the volume inside the Cone will get absorbed into the surrounding soil as compost water.
The Green Cone has double walls that heat up in the sun, cycling oxygen to the chamber below that is humid and connected to the surrounding soil, and speeding up the breakdown process. When the weather is warm, the Green Cone can handle 1 kg/2 lbs of kitchen waste per day, although this slows in winter, at which point you can add an optional accelerator powder. Surprisingly, the Green Cone’s list of digestible items includes meat, bones, grease, dairy products, seafood, even small amounts of animal excrement.
The Green Cone retails online for $139.00 CAD, although the company will partner with cities and municipalities to sell subsidized versions in order to encourage people to adopt backyard composting more widely. For example, the county of Oxford in Ontario has adopted Green Cones because it’s the “simple, natural way to divert food waste from landfills.” The cost of Green Cones is far cheaper and greener, compared to curbside pickup. Residents of Oxford can purchase their cones for just $40.
“The county chose the green cones following the decision by Oxford councillors in 2014 that curbside organic collection was unsuitable due to its expense and the environmental toll it takes during collection.”
The beauty of the Green Cone is that it just keeps going, never filling up like a traditional composter. I’ve had mine for two years and love it. Animals cannot access the food scraps, as they are located underground. It can be used in a container on any surface (parking lots, roofs, apartment balconies). The only downside is not having rich, dark compost for your gardens, but there’s no reason why a Green Cone couldn’t be used alongside a traditional composter, thereby broadening the list of what you can dispose of in your own backyard.
Visit Compostec for more information.