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Zera Food Recycler - a garbage bin that makes compost

Developed by Whirlpool and a winner at the CES in Las Vegas, this innovative connected garbage bin turns food waste into compost in just 24 hours.

Want to effortlessly make compost in your kitchen in just 24 hours? The dream of every eco-responsible urbanite in need of space or a garden is now accessible thanks to a simple and ingenious solution. Developed by the American giant Whirlpool, the Zera Food Recycler is at first sight an attractive 8.4 liter designer bin. But it's actually a concentration of technology that incorporates a system to dramatically accelerate the composting process. In the space of 24 hours, it can transform 7 days’ worth of food waste produced by a family of 4 people - about 3.5 kg - into compost to feed plants.

The process is simultaneously chemical, mechanical and electronic: a special small bag containing baking soda and pieces of coconut husks is placed at the bottom of the container and the week’s waste, food leftovers and other peelings are put on top. Then, by pressing a button, the electric cycle is triggered: the combined action of air, humidity, heat and stirring blades first reduces the volume of waste by two-thirds, then starts the high speed composting process. At the end of the cycle, a compost similar to ground coffee is recovered from the drawer. Ready to use!

This clever project is part of the Whirlpool brand's desire to develop its "Green Kitchen" concept of a sustainable and intelligent kitchen for the future. The Zera Food Recycler has been developed through its WLabs, a laboratory that operates like a start-up where the technical development of innovative ideas selected by the company are driven forward.


High-tech garbage bin

The development of the Zera Food Recycler project was put up for crowd-funding in February 2017 and was very successful (just over US $550,000, or about €461,000). In addition, it won three prizes at the 2017 CES, the technology and high-tech gathering place in Las Vegas, including the "Best of Innovation Award, Eco-design and sustainable technologies category".

It must be said that this indoor bin-composter is truly high-tech. Whirlpool has developed a dedicated app that allows you to check how full the container is, the progress of the composting cycle and the state of the filter – mostly because the product does require its carbon filter to be changed regularly to avoid odors, and the famous little magic bags to put in the bottom of the container have to be bought too. As for the fertilizer recovered - a little less rich than a traditional compost due to the accelerated process - it should be used as a top dressing and not around stems or roots. It is perfect for fertilizing flowerbeds, outdoor planters or urban vegetable gardens.

Of course, all this technology has a price, for the moment around US $1,200, a little more than €1,000. The Zera Food Recycler bin is scheduled to go on the market in the summer of 2018 in the United States and a few months later in Europe.

 

Reducing household food waste: a necessity

Reducing food waste is a necessity. In France alone, the amount of food waste in households has reached 5.2 million metric tons a year, or 79 kg of waste per person, including 13 kg of leftover meals and uneaten fruit and vegetables (sources: ADEME and Zero Gash). Between the shared composters that are now appearing at the foot of apartment buildings, the individual compost bins that bloom in gardens, and now the Zera Food Recycler, there are lots of ways of reducing the volume of your waste, no matter where you happen to live!

 

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