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Composting in your Kitchen: Less Waste, More Benefit

Posted: Apr 30, 2009

Green initiatives are taking root everywhere, and the food industry is no exception. Organic waste takes up an extraordinary amount of what is put into our country’s landfills on a daily basis. Landfills are currently one of the largest contributors of greenhouse gasses such as methane. Some estimates have stated that 49% of waste produced by restaurants that is destined for a landfill can be re-used and given back to the earth as nitrogen-rich compost fertilizer.

Companies like NatureMill have made the choice clear for those who are looking for a simple solution to recycle the daily food waste that would normally be sent to your local landfill. A gourmet chef, a small restaurant, and even a family home can now benefit themselves and the environment by including a compact composter unit in their kitchen. Much like their larger industrial-sized relatives, these composters allow for working in smaller indoor or outdoor environments and work every bit as hard and efficiently.

At a time when more people are green-conscious, the incentives for owning a composter are growing by the day. Many state and local governments offer tax-credits to businesses that are actively composting their organic waste rather than discard it in a landfill. Cities across the country are also recognizing those who contribute very little to the sanitation system by offering discounted rates to their weekly pickup services. Restaurateurs have chosen to even give back their compost to local farmers, or sell their fertilizer material for a small fee to supplement their own business.

Types: The PLUS Edition is ideal for a small household, while the PRO Edition was designed with additional conveniences for the gourmet professional or small restaurant. Larger restaurants will benefit from using multiple PRO units.

Size: Measuring 20" high, 20" wide, and 12" deep, the units are small enough to fit inside most kitchen cabinets. Their sturdy construction enables them to withstand outdoor weather, too.

Capacity: These machines can handle up to 120 lbs of food waste per month, while dispensing a full batch of fresh compost every 2 weeks. The waste on the inside will compact to nearly 70% due to the break-down of the material during the process.

Features: The odor filter on NatureMill composters is charcoal-based, lasts for 5 years, and keeps your kitchen and surrounding areas odor-free for the lifetime of the filter.

These machines can handle nearly all food and paper waste material. These units come with a guide sheet under the lid that shows examples of what is accepted and what is not.

The composters operate by supercharging the oxygen level and the temperature in order to break down the organic material in a process called "hot composting". The contents are sifted through until the fine compost material drops through the trap-door at the bottom and falls below to the collection drawer where the material is emptied. An indicator light will illuminate when the collection drawer is full.

Application: When most organic material decomposes and breaks down over time, a resource high in nitrogen is formed. This resource, called compost, provides the appropriate nutrients to help sustain all forms of plant life. Just one tray full of compost from the NatureMill composter is just the right amount to fertilize 10-40 sq ft (1-4 sq m) of your garden, trees, lawn, or shrubs. Combined with water, the compost becomes an easy-to-pour liquid mulch. Eventually, these nutrients embed themselves within the soil, to be used again by trees, grass, and other plants.

Energy Source: Each Energy Star compliant NatureMill composter uses on average 5 kwh/month, which costs an average of 50 cents a month (about the same amount of energy as a standard nightlight, but less than a garbage truck would burn in diesel fuel to haul the same waste).

Temperature Range: This unit can be used in any indoor or outdoor area in temperatures up to 120º F. Internally, these composters reach 140º F to break down the waste material into usable compost. The PRO Edition also has a vacation function that allows you to schedule times for when you are out of the kitchen for overnight periods or longer.

Construction: This durable unit is made from #5 recycled polypropylene on its external housing. The internal components are constructed of food-grade stainless steel and aluminum, to ensure your composter provides years of service.


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