The Compost Professor: A Smart Composting System


 1. Sustainability Problem: Waste

Food waste makes up 20 to 30% of our waste, and leads to powerful greenhouse gas emissions when landfilled. Homeowners don’t compost for a variety of reasons – not knowing how, what to include, benefits of compost, and general lack of interest.

 2. Summary of Technology

  • The “Compost Professor” aims to help homeowners out by providing insight into their compost detected by a combination of  sensors, artificial intelligence, and analytics
  • The tool is made of three parts:
    • Compost Unit – a large tumbler where raw compost goes, usually placed outside. It has sensors which help it know when to take automatic, proactive actions such as increasing hydration or air flow
    • Base Unit -Analyses the data, communicates the information from the sensors to the cloud
    • Kitchen Handheld Unit – small device intended to be in a kitchen that tells the homeowner when to increase types of ingredients, change the batteries, etc.  It will also indicate when the compost is ready for use
  • This tool will likely not convince people to start composting, but it will help people who are trying to compost get to an end product in a more effective way

 3. Stakeholders

  • Inventor, owner 
  • Potential Users – nurseries, cities, homeowners, gardeners
  • Potential retailes
  • Manufacturer of all component parts

 4. Implementation Steps

  • Define Target Market- this is a specific product with a niche market
  • Develop sales and distribution plans with brick and mortar and online retailers
  • Advertise, gather feedback, and iterate


In response to: Ocean Cleanup

The fact that this system is constantly moving, or “drifting” helps the amount of matter that it can collect. In “fixed” or no moving barrier systems, the downward strength of the water after hitting the barrier is strong, and therefore pushes the matter underneath the barrier to the other side, not capturing it. It would be good to understand if they are planning to deploy a net that can capture microplastics, as there are billions of these in the oceans, and these nets can only capture particles larger than 1 cm. While not as visible as much of the plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, microplastics are becoming a large problem quickly.



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