Western Australian company, Zero Waste Systems has begun importing a food waste processor called Smart Cara. This machine has been around for a few years, is made in Korea and to date, has mostly been sold in the UK. It's not a composter, but a food dehydrator & mulcher, so while it has many of the characteristics of a composter, it doesn't break food down. Instead, it simply takes the water out of it and grinds it.If you are trying to minimise household food waste, or you live in an apartment, or like me, are simply impatient and don't want to wait around for your food scraps to break down in traditional compost, then this machine is worth a look. The machine arrived within a week of ordering, which was amazing, considering it was Christmas when we ordered it. It is quite light - less than 9kg and relatively small at 270(W) x 300(D) x 350mm(H). It would certainly fit under many sinks or in a cupboard. It will process around 1 kg of waste each cycle, which takes 3 - 4 hours. One kg might not sound like a lot, but bear in mind this is pure food waste. The distributors say it should easily support a family of 4.
We had been hording compost here (tragic, I know) at ekko.world, for the arrival of the Smart Cara so it was a good thing it arrived quickly. We have now run it a number of times with different types of food combinations. (These food combinations are limited as previously noted, but should be enough to give you the idea of the machine.) It has been cleaned twice, using the Smart Cara cleaning function, but it cleans just fine in the sink or dishwasher as well.
1. Citrus halves – limes and oranges and dog hair and some paper.2. Citrus halves, avocado peel and mango and loads of coffee grinds.3. Vegetables, fruit, meat scraps and some dried out garlic bulbs.4. Citrus halves, avocado peel and mango and some coffee grinds.5. Coffee grinds, mango peel, citrus and lettuce.We have also since run it successfully with chicken bones and vegetables. Obviously you could also put in banana peels, vegetables, meats, cakes...
Jennifer's You Tube review is here if you would like a little more info:It has taken awhile, but we are definitely converts and like this machine. Even though it won't eat everything you could feed compost, the items it does take far outweigh the few it won't. Update: 27 February, 2018. Smart Cara is still the best option for quick food waste reduction in my mind, but it's definitely not consistent. There are a few reasons for this comment, which are worth bearing in mind if you buy one. (Some of these points, I suspect are simply because the machine isn't sold by a big appliance house and therefore the functions aren't highly refined, but that's ok.)Sometimes the blades get stuck, sometimes the by product isn't as dehydrated as you would expect. It doesn't seem to like a lot of moisture at the outset. I find that if there are coffee grinds in it, it works fine. If not, then not so much.I don't mind the smell, but others might not like the earthy food smell. Having said this, the plants I have fed the by-product are thriving so they clearly don't mind. I now try to separate the chicken bones and meat when I can (from onions and avocado) so they can be processed and added to the dog's food. It finally occurred to me that the by-product probably was richer in nutrient and not dissimilar to dried dog food.The Smart Cara really only supports a family of two if you only run it once a day and you eat a reasonable amount of fresh food. A family of 4 or 5 would need two runs - morning and night.Would I still buy it? Definitely. Understandably some people might think it is an expensive food compactor / dehydrator, but turning food waste into something useful matters to me. I do like the fact that it reduces food waste quickly and offers so many options for disposal.Images: Main & first image - Zero Waste Systems | other images: ekko.world
Great to know! My best friend lives in an apartment with lots of pot plants and I have been wondering what a good solution would be for her food waste as she currently throws it in the bin (she loves to cook and travels a lot for work) - do you have any other solutions to compare?
Monday, 24 September 2018
We were talking to Zero Waste Systems today regarding mycorrhizal activity and they said:There is no evidence or suggestion that the output has not or has any activity. However, the output product is high in microbial available energy and nutrients which will promote microbe and worm activity. The soil environment will determine which microbes will prevail.
Wednesday, 10 January 2018
The response we got from Zero Waste System's John McDonnell on the bones question was that the recommendation is that no more that 30% of one product type is processed at the one time if possible. Processed by-product is then mixed with soil and is totally fine to be placed around plant stems.We don't yet have a response in relation to the mycorrhizal activity question.
Monday, 8 January 2018
Is there an issue with the lack of mycorrhizal activity?
Sunday, 7 January 2018
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