Composting your household organic waste is a highly-commendable thing to do, but compost heaps do have some limitations – they take a long time to convert waste to soil, they can attract pests, and you're not supposed to put meat scraps in them. Well, apparently none of those things apply to a new appliance known as the Zera Food Recycler.
Designed by Whirlpool Corporation's innovation incubator, WLabs, the Zera sits in your kitchen instead of out in your backyard.
Users start each cycle by throwing a paper packet of Zera Additive into its central bin – that additive consists of coir (coconut husk fiber) and baking soda. Vegetable, meat and dairy food waste (with the exception of bones and fruit pits) is subsequently dumped into it throughout the week. A sliding lid along with a replaceable HEPA/carbon filter help keep odors at bay.
Once the bin is full, a motorized auger-style blade sets about mixing, slicing and aerating everything. That mixture is also heated. It is claimed that within 24 hours, the contents of the bin (including the additive packet) will be rendered into nutrient-rich soil. That soil can be retrieved from a smaller bin, in the bottom of the Zera.
It all sounds pretty good, although keep in mind that users will have to keep buying filters and packets of additive.
If you're interested in getting one, the Zera is currently the subject of an Indiegogo campaign that has far-exceeded its funding goal. A pledge of US$999 will get you one (including a filter and one month's supply of additive), if everything works out. The planned retail price is $1,199.