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.
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