What if your kitchen composter did the composting for you?

We know that collecting food scraps in a kitchen composter is a good idea, but what happens after you’ve gathered all of that food waste?

We know that collecting food scraps in a kitchen composter is a good idea, but what happens after you've gathered all of that food waste?

Calling a kitchen countertop compost collector a “kitchen composter” feels a bit misleading, doesn’t it? This shorthand is certainly less of a mouthful, but it gives a lot of cred to what’s essentially just a bucket. It sounds like this bucket is going to do the composting for you, which it definitely isn’t.

Once you collect those scraps, you need to make sure that you’re managing your compost bin properly. Your bin needs the right mix of green and brown matter. It should be wet, but not too wet. And, of course, you need to turn it. Composting isn’t super complicated, but it does take some time and energy. If you don’t have time and energy to spare, it might seem out of reach, and calling that little bucket a kitchen composter might sound laughable.

Whirlpool’s Zera Food Recycler, though, actually is a legit kitchen composter. It’s more complex than a small bucket, but in exchange for the extra cost and space, you get a device that actually does the composting for you.  In 24 hours, it turns your food scraps into usable fertilizer. It does come with a hefty price tag, though: $1,199.

Check out CNET’s video, showing how it works:

The Zera Food Recycler isn’t available yet – Whirlpool is planning an Indiegogo campaign for January to gauge interest. Whirlpool told CNET that if you back the campaign, you can snag a Zera starting at $699.

The composter basically looks like a tricked-out trash can, and you’ll be able to control the kitchen composter using a smartphone app.  It uses pressure, heat, circulating air to turn food scraps into fertilizer, but there is a catch. Zera users will also have to purchase $12 packs of coconut husk pellets. The pellets help manage excess moisture and add nutrients to your finished compost. There’s no word yet on whether you can use the Zera without the $12 packets.

What do you think about Whirlpool's kitchen composter? Would you pony up $700-$1200 for some composting help?

One commenter at CNET was concerned about the kitchen composter’s energy usage. The editors reached out to Whirlpool, who responded that it uses about 40 Watts of power to run, which is equivalent to one soft, indoor light.

Composting is a critical part of addressing our food waste problem. For folks without access to municipal composting, figuring out what to do with food scraps is a real issue. What do you guys think about Whirlpool’s kitchen composter? Would you pony up $700-$1200 for some composting help?

Image Credits: Zera Composter image via Whirlpool; compost photo via Shutterstock

Written by Becky Striepe


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  1. Very interested. Tried the bins never could get the time or combination correct. My only concern would be the packets. Will this machine work if they quit making them and discontinue making the packets. I’m left with another useless appliance and $ 1,000 wasted.

  2. Definitely in! I own a garburator and often wish I could use my own composter…but not outside! Let me know when this is available please!

  3. How long does the packet of coconut pellets last? Do you have to use one $12 packet every day, week, month, or …? I’d be fine with it taking longer than 24 hr to produce compost if the price would go down significantly. After all, we are all used to it taking much longer to produce compost outside. I AM INTERESTED.

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