In an average year, a typical household family throws out roughly 25 percent of the food and beverages they purchase due primarily to food spoilage or simply preparing and serving too much. Fully aware of these statistics from the National Resources Defense Council, the multinational appliance corporation Whirpool unveiled its at-home answer to curbing waste. Dubbed the Zera Food Recycler, Whirlpool’s solution not only aims to help thrown-out food avoid retiring to a landfill but it also looks to provide homeowners with a ready-to-use, homemade fertilizer. You know what they say about two birds and one stone.
Capable of turning a week’s worth of food waste into usable fertilizer in just 24 hours, Whirlpool’s Zera Food Recycler seems like the perfect addition to anyone’s kitchen. All that stands between a Zera owner and homemade fertilizer usable in their lawn, garden, or in potted plants, is a simple press of a button. Fully automatic and able to accept a variety of different types of food — i.e. dairy, meat, bread, etc. — the Zera machine automatically monitors its heat, air, and moisture levels while in use.
To correctly operate the machine, owners simply insert a plant-based Zera Additive Pack inside the device before proceeding to fill it with food waste. Once completely full, a press of the start button begins what Whirlpool is calling a “transforming cycle,” in which a set of interior mixing blades chop the Zera’s contents while heating it to allow the additive to break down the waste. Additionally, the contents receive a steady stream of fresh air thanks to an attached high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) and carbon filter.
After the transforming cycle concludes, a previously full batch of food waste is then roughly two-thirds its original size and immediately available for use as fertilizer. Furthermore, once it is deposited in a garden or lawn, it boasts the capability of emitting critical nutrients into the soil — unlike typical food waste which ends up in a landfill, where it likely releases harmful methane.
At just under $1,200 per unit, the future of food recycling certainly isn’t cheap but there is no doubt it backs up its lofty price tag by offering a slew of benefits. According to CNET, Whirlpool plans on launching an Indiegogo campaign for the Zera Food Recycler in early January, giving those interested in adopting the tech early a chance to secure the appliance for just $699 — roughly half of its intended retail price. Additionally, the company is expected to officially unveil the product to the public at 2017’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.