Manufacturing, Retail, and Sustainability

Appliance maker rolling out food scrap recycler

November 25, 2016
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Whirlpool Zera Food Recycler
The Zera Food Recycler stands beside a kitchen island. Courtesy Whirlpool Corporation

An appliance maker is rolling out a product that will help consumers looking for an easy way to recycle their food waste.

Benton Harbor-based Whirlpool Corporation said this month its incubator, WLabs, has created the Zera Food Recycler for the home.

The Zera Food Recycler converts food waste into ready-to-use homemade fertilizer. 

Whirlpool said the product, which can fit alongside most kitchen countertops, can break down a week of the average family's food waste within 24 hours, and 95 percent of a typical family's food waste overall.

That’s good news given that 40 percent of food in the U.S. is wasted every year.

The Zera system uses oxygen, moisture, heat, a plant-based additive and an agitator to expedite decomposition of food scraps, reducing its volume by two-thirds within 24 hours.

Unlike traditional composting methods, the Zera allows families to recycle food year-round, including in colder climates where outdoor methods may not be possible.

The process can be controlled via the Zera mobile app, offering the ability to remotely operate the machine.

Brett Dibkey, VP of Integrated Business Units at Whirlpool Corporation, said Zera is one of the first products to be introduced from WLabs, which was launched to “fast-track products to market that address previously unsolved and real consumer needs.”

“Zera has been designed to help families recycle household food waste, help reduce landfill waste, all while enhancing their own lawn and garden,” he said.

Dibkey added the Zera system “ensures” food waste can be converted into a homemade fertilizer, as opposed to being disposed into a landfill.

The product will debut in January at the Consumer Electronics Show. The test market launch will be supported through a crowdfunding campaign in partnership with Indiegogo, set to go live on Jan. 6, to coincide with the Consumer Electronics Show.

The Zera system will be unveiled in select test markets, including Austin, Chicago and San Francisco, starting in April.

Zera is the third product to be launched by Whirlpool Corporation’s WLabs.

Earlier this year, WLabs launched the Vessi Beer Fermentor and Dispenser system, giving users a chance to brew beer at home in as little as seven days. 

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