Countertop Composter

19 December 2023

This time of the year brings out all kinds of new gadgets and appliances, hoping to make big sales.  Recently there have been some ads for a machine that will take your kitchen waste and turn it into a substance that you can use as a fertilizer in your house plants, garden, etc.

For those unfamiliar with composting, it is a natural process of dealing with organic matter.  If it grows, it will decompose.  Composting aids and accelerates the process by creating an environment that will help the food, grass, etc. turn into what some refer to as “black gold”.  This procedure has a number of benefits including:

  • improving the soil, its health, and ability to grow new plants
  • reduces land fill
  • recycles materials
  • lessens the impact of droughts

Traditionally composting is done in a back yard usually in a bin.  Depending on the amount of waste material you have, it can take years to decompose to the point that you have enough for, say, a vegetable garden.

Not everyone has the back yard space or facilities to compost in this manner, which is what brings us to the topic of this article.  There are now several manufacturers who have developed an appliance that will convert your kitchen waste, as well as grass clippings, into an enriched product that will fertilize your house plants or gardens.  This is also designed to help those living in an apartment, condo, or townhouse to take advantage of this same opportunity.

There are some things to consider before making this investment.

  • Size and Capacity. While it needs to be able to handle the amount of food waste, it will also take up some counter space when in use and cabinet space in storage.
  • Type of Foods Processed. Each manufacturer has designed the machine a bit differently which means each one will be able to process some foods that others don’t, as well as be unable to handle some items.  Some can deal with bones, meat, oil, but others can only handle fruit, vegetables.  Some will work with coffee filters and paper, but most not.
  • Some operate on food waste that needs more work than others.  The size you can chop to, separating bones, and other issues.  It probably also will mean moving the machine from time to time, if not every day.
  • While the ads show a nice granular end product, that is not always quite the case.  Some of the compost will need to be manipulated to break up into usable pieces.
  • The actual composting process will take hours, not minutes.  That means you will need to leave it on over night or all day when you are at work.  That also means you will need to deal with the emptying either in the morning before you get started or at the end of a work day, when you are not as fresh with energy.

The bottom line is whether or not countertop composters work.  Well, yes.  They will grind and dehydrate the food scraps and produce fertilizer.  Because they are sealed when they work, there is no offensive odor.  If you follow the owner’s manual, you should have no problems.  The downsides are that they do not always handle the type of food waste that you need to be rid of.  Some cannot deal with eggshells or root vegetables.  They are bulky to handle and store.  Of course, you need to look at the price, which can vary from brand to brand, to decide if it is worth your investment.







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