WLABS INNOVATIONS, the eco-friendly incubation spin-off of Whirlpool debuted the 887% funded (on Indiegogo) ZERA Food Recycler and brought home awards since its launch at CES. Hailed as a breakthrough appliance, it can compost one week’s worth of kitchen waste into ready-to-use fertilizer in 24 hours. Soon to retail at $1199, the prototype outperformed current models in its category. It has won on home grounds the CES Best of Innovation Award (Eco-Design and Sustainable Technologies category), CES Innovations Award Honoree (Tech For A Better World), CES Innovations Award Honoree (Home Appliances Categories) and Best Connected Home Product. Overseas, it also captured the EFTM CES Best Appliance Award (Australia), Cannes Lions Innovation Shortlist (Sustainability & Environmental Impact) and Bronze award (Product Design Innovation).
The ZERA Food Recycler is obviously an innovation to improve life true to the adage, “waste not, want not”. This is certainly not your Mom and Dad’s way of recycling where soil has to be dugged, scraps dumped, covered, and turned periodically. Trash accumulating in bins attract all sorts of vermin and emit a foul odor from the putrid degradation. The old method also brought in more woes as wastes and oils tend to clog pipes and drains and may require hot water to flush out. It is estimated that every family wastes about 400 lbs. of food each year – just imagine the landfill use throughout the country and the methane gas generated that contributes to global warming.
The ZERA Food Recycler short-cuts what nature does to come-up with usable fertilizer perfect for enriching the topsoil of home gardens. Urban gardeners who don’t have plots of land to cultivate can use the composted material in vertical organic gardens.
This kitchen heavyweight is a beauty too and integrates well with existing kitchen equipment. No need to cut scraps into small pieces – just throw in with the Zara additive and you can have powdery (but aerated) dark brown compost for your garden the next day. Those who live far areas with arable land probably had been intimidated by the thought of gardening because there is no soil to be found. The ZERA Food Recycler capacity is about 8 pounds of waste. Volume output is 1/3 of the total starting scrap volume; handy information if you want to predict how long it will take to get all those pots filled.
ZERA works on first-in-first-out; that is, the scraps are pushed to the bottom as they come and get processed ahead of subsequent loads. The technology channels nature with the cycle of heat and air, reducing the usual process that takes weeks to just about a day. The bag of coconut husks thrown in is optional but using it improves the quality of the output significantly. And it is smart so expect it as the next big thing in today’s connected homes.