We are in the process of setting up our new office space at BEDI within our first flagship store. With that, there has been a lot of discussion around ethical and sustainable practices and systems that we can implement… well, everywhere. In our kitchen, we want to offer food solutions that will allow for our entire team to make responsible decisions around waste easily. That encompasses providing a water bottle refill station, easy recycling options, and a fridge so that we can store leftover food for later consumption. One thing that came up recently was composting options - or rather the lack of.
Enter: The electric composter.
There is a new gadget on the market that quickly turns food and kitchen scraps into nutrient-rich soil ready to be transplanted into any potted plant or garden. While it sounds like a gimmick, we have gone down the research rabbit hole with this one and are fascinated by how easy of a solution this is not just for us, but for most urban households dealing with the dilemmas around having a counter top compost. Here is all of the information we found around electric composters:
- They make composting effortless
Traditional composting methods take effort, especially if you want to make sure the process completes in less than a year.
- Electric composters are extremely quick
While traditional composting can take anywhere from a month to over a year to finish, electric composters can produce nutrient-rich dirt in less than a day - some in as little as a few hours!
- You don't ever have to worry about bad smells
Many electric composters come with activated carbon filters that absorb odors and prevent any bad smells from entering your space. This is especially important in a small office environment.
- Your electric kitchen composter can fit on your countertop
Traditional composting methods can take up a lot of space, and a traditional backyard compost pile requires a backyard to work with. Alternatively, an electric compost bin will easily fit on any kitchen counter.
- A kitchen composter can break down waste you wouldn't compost traditionally
There's a variety of food waste, such as animal products, that you wouldn't be able to compost traditionally because they would attract pests. That's not something you need to worry about with an electric compost bin.
- They reduce methane emissions
Food waste in a landfill emits methane as it breaks down. It can even do so in a regular compost pile. An electric kitchen composter eliminates that release of methane with its aeration process.
Now, lets address the big question we all have: How does it work? Electric composting usually requires three cycles: Drying, Mixing, and Cooling.
Electric composters heat and dry the waste as the first step in the decomposition process. Increasing the heat allows for microbes such as the mesophiles and thermophiles to rapidly increase in numbers. Letting them get a head start is one of the main components to the rapid decomposition process. Secondly, because organic waste is mostly made up of water, increasing the heat quickly reduces the volume by evaporating most of that water. The combination of a higher number of microbes and a lower waste volume creates an ideal environment for rapid decomposition. There is a benefit to the drying process that ordinary composting does not provide - by raising the temperature to such a high level, an electric food composter can kill some food pathogens that regular composting cannot. On top of that, the drying process will also kill any weed seeds which often occur in backyard composting piles.
This cycle mimics the the hot turning method of regular composting. It allows for aeration of the food waste - those helpful microbes need oxygen to survive! Electric composters will also grind the food scraps into smaller pieces at this point, allowing for more surface area for our microbe friends to have access to. By having access to more organic matter at once, they are able to break it down much more quickly.
This final cycle basically cools down the organic matter so that it can be a safe temperature for handling. This process also continues to dehumidify and provide aeration, so by the time it is finished the nutrient rich soil can go directly into your garden.
This opens up a lot doors for society - while this tech is still a little bit pricey, it has the potential to not only offer an easier alternative to food waste, but it also offers something in return for your efforts - that nutrient-rich soil that will help your garden be one envied by all your neighbours. It also opens the door to the idea of this tech’s use on a larger commercial scale - could this be a long term solution for waste collection plants in most cities?
Naturally, we are now on the hunt for the perfect electric composter for our office kitchen. Any recommendations are welcome - drop a comment and let us know your thoughts!