Putting it to the Test: The Foodcycler
By Jeff Barten
Energy and Asset Services Manager, LAS
My family is blessed to live in a municipality that has an organic waste program. We have a container on the counter where we collect two small bags a week for our green bin. My parents in the next county over are not so lucky. So, they choose to compost. Recently they discovered the hard way that this invites scavenging critters into their yard – like the skunk that now claims their window well as its home.
Every once in a while, I come across something that really piques my interest. Last year, when Food Cycle Science was awarded approved supplier status with our Canoe Procurement Group, I was intrigued. I’d never heard of this type of thing before. Their Foodcycler© provides an alternative to dealing with food waste. I wanted to check out for myself if this might be the solution. After all, I firmly believe we are stewards of this earth and ought to do what we can to take care of it for future generations.
I must admit, we were skeptical at first. How can a simple appliance take messy, smelly organic waste and transform it into a usable soil amendment? Earlier this month, our new Foodcycler© arrived on our doorstep. A couple snowy days later, on a sunny Sunday afternoon, we finally saved enough food waste to try it out. The results were amazing!
Five litres of organic waste quietly transformed into one cup of by-product in a matter of five hours. No odors. No mess. Just dry crumbs. With this new appliance, we no longer need to put our green bin to the curb, especially in the summer when it’s full of flies, wasps and maggots.
Since sharing our experience with our friends and family, we’ve gotten lots of comments – ‘So cool!’, ‘Where can I get this?’, ‘Wow - that’s a game changer!’ And for my family it is definitely a game changer. Since its arrival, we’ve broken down several buckets of organics. We’re now saving the by-product in a container in the garage to mix into our gardens this spring. Or maybe we’ll share some our neighbours – after all, they have great vegetable gardens and often share their lettuce, cucumbers, and beans with us. Just another benefit in this circle we call sustainability.
Let's break it down financially:
- These appliances cost about as much as a new iPad. Spread that out over the life of the product and it works out to less than 30 cents a day.
- Operating it costs us about $0.40/cycle compared with the $0.10/compostable bag.
Broken down in terms of the greater good:
- It would remove the noisy, polluting organics garbage trucks from the streets.
- It reduces the need for large organic waste facilities and prolongs our landfills.
Is this technology a cure all? We’ll leave that for you to decide, but to me it certainly seems a step in the right direction.