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CoolTechStuff: Zera

Larry Mortimer, AIA lmort@kmort.com

Here’s a new green kitchen appliance that may become commonplace in your kitchen and the kitchens you design in the future. 

What Does It Do: The Zera Food Recycler is a free-standing kitchen appliance that is designed to turn food scraps into ready-to-use homemade fertilizer in just 24 hours.

What does it cost: Suggested Retail price $1,199

How Does it Work: The Zera Food Recycler is simple to use. Just scrape your leftover food scraps into the opening. The unit then stirs, moistens, aerates, heats and mixes in a plant-based additive (made from coconut husk and baking soda) to help break the food down. After 24 hours the scraps are converted into fertilizer that is collected in a tray at the bottom.

Pros: The unit is an attractive package that measures 11” x 22” x 33 3/4” and weighs about 118 pounds. Unlike traditional composting methods, Zera can be used year-round regardless of the weather and can be remotely operated through a mobile app.

Cons: I have mixed feelings about this one. On one hand it can help reduce the amount of material that gets placed in landfill by turning unwanted food into useful fertilizer, but on the other hand it may encourage people to be more wasteful since they will feel less guilty about not consuming perfectly good food (my mother would never let me waste any food).

Conclusion: This is an interesting concept that had it’s debut at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in January. The appliance was developed by WLabs of the Whirlpool Corporation (Whirlpool’s innovation incubator). It is scheduled to be available for purchase at selected retailers and zera.com in Spring of 2017, but can be pre-ordered now on Indiegogo’s crowdfunding service. It’s interesting that a large corporation like Whirlpool is using crowdfunding to test the waters on a new product.

More Information at: zera.com

Click here to purchase.

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