Sustainability Problem: Food Waste
The US discards ~40% of its food supply every year! While this is a clear waste of money, natural resources (water, energy, land) and time, there is another detrimental consequence to this issue. The thrown-out organic waste eventually ends up in landfills where toxic methane gas (CH4) is released as the food breaks down among non-biodegradable trash, adding to global warming crisis.
Sustainability Technology: Whirlpool’s Zera Food Recycler – Quicker & Convenient Composting
Whirlpool has developed a unique appliance called the Zera Food Recycler, which is basically a modern composting machine. It has the capability to process 8 lbs. of food/food scraps into 2 lbs. of fertilizer within just 24 hours.
Zera uses a rotating, cylindrical blade which breaks the food down bringing forth valuable nutrients for plat growth, its heating and drying functions help remove access moisture, and coconut husks and baking soda are used at the end to thicken the mixture while also reducing the acidity of the end-product.
The homemade fertilizer can be used in home gardens and/or collected by the city/communities to distribute to local farms/city parks/gardens etc. A point of note is that while the fertilizer is not 100% compost material, it finishes up the composting process after spending 3-4 weeks outside.
The beauty of this appliance is that many issues with traditional composting (i.e. processing time, sorting organic material, and more importantly odors) are virtually non-existent. It can accommodate ~95% of all organic food waste including meat. And most importantly it provides the convenience of not having to collect and store organic waste, which is a huge positive factor in convincing consumers to close the food loop.
“Whirlpool wants you to trash your old composting methods and buy a fancy food recycler” Popular Science, 3/6/2017, Eleanor Cummins
“This new gadget promises to transform food scraps into fertilizer in 24 hours” Treehugger, 11/16/2016, Derek Markham
“A NEW NRDC REPORT SHOWS THAT AMERICA WASTES 40% OF ITS FOOD” Sustainable America, 10/1/2012, Nicole Rogers
- All global/domestic consumers looking to reduce their impact on the planet
- Gardeners and Farmers looking to increase the health of their soil
- Civic governments looking to drastically reduce waste transportation costs
- Communities that are strengthened through a single social/environmental goal
Technology Implementation & Distribution:
Bring awareness to the target consumers about the consequences of food waste through media and marketing outlets, showing them the importance and benefits of curbing organic refuse and closing the food loop.
Deploy the appliance in select cities/areas for consumer testing, before a full nationwide distribution is attempted (Current test cities are Chicago, Austin, and San Francisco).
Use feedback from initial customer reactions to enhance and/or customize the product for efficient household use, and ultimately reduce the purchasing cost to make it accessible to more consumers.
By: Bhoomi Shah , Columbia UNI: brs2147
In response to Riya’s Transparent Solar Spray Transforms Windows into Watts post: