Composter Idea Eliminates Sink-Side Stink

For every greenie who has ever dreaded that smelly, labor intensive endeavor that is (or can be) composting, there’s the Gaia Ultimate Automate Composter. This concept design–the brainchild of designer Soojae Kwon of San Francisco–not only creates high quality compost, it captures methane and usable bagasse (the fibrous matter used in biofuels and some recycled paper products).

With its “inclined and ergonomic shape,” combination of automated electronic functions and ceramic body, the Gaia is a sophisticated amalgam of form and function, designed for ease of use. It makes use of a Cyclonic stainless-steel helix ball grinder to grind food waste, a ceramic double-layer sealed container to pressurize waste and retain heat, a cartridge to capture bagasse, and a charcoal double filter to eliminate odors.

Gaia composter

image via Soonjae Kwon

Just insert food waste and hit the Compost button. The Mode circle reports what stage of decomposition the contents of the system is currently in–Grind, Ferment, or Compost mode. When your compost is ready, just pull out the handy drawer in the bottom of the device and dump the contents on your backyard garden.

This seems a brilliant solution to the massive amounts of food waste generated in the U.S. every day. But what would it take, exactly, to bring all these sophisticated components together in a cost-effective way? It’s time for someone to bring this design into the production phase and, of course, let us know.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

    • Kim Klaniecki

      I really like this idea, overall, but don’t think many people would want to have a storage unit of rot and dirt on their counter tops, even with the odor-eliminating feature. If there were a way to have the top of the unit accessible from the inside but the bottom part (with the new soil) accessible from the outside, that may be more popular for some families. Finding a way to not let heat/air conditioning escape through the unit would be important too.nnu00a0Also, how big is this unit? Could it fit the scraps from only one bachelor’s meal or the scraps from an entire family’s Thanksgiving meal or the scraps from a family for an entire month? Is this a continuous-use appliance that separates newer compost from ready-to-use compost so you don’t have to worry about finding a banana peal in your new soil?nI think that for this product to be cost-effective, there would have to be a market for all the extra soil. Many sub-urban and urban families would not find a use for lots of dirt and would rather their table scraps be taken away by garbage truck. I’m not sure what the demand is for soil from rural, agricultural areas or establishments with large estates (like colleges) but if it’s large enough to encourage lots of small-scale composting you wouldn’t necessarily have to worry about the sub-urban/urban markets. I would love it if everyone had the time and money to compost, but realistically, I don’t think many Americans will start unless they see more immediate, personal payoff.u00a0