A few tech developers are making homes greener, and the trash can is a good place to start.
WLabs, the innovation incubator of Whirlpool Corporation, has developed a way to help reduce food waste in landfills by turning household scraps into garden fertiliser. The Zera Food Recycler, which debuted at CES 2017 in January, can break down the average family’s weekly food waste – estimated to be 3.5kg – in 24 hours. Fitting alongside most kitchen countertops, the system uses oxygen, moisture, heat, a plant-based additive, and an agitator to expedite the decomposition of food scraps. The process can be controlled via a mobile app, offering the ability to remotely operate the machine.
Brett Dibkey, vice-president of integrated business units at Whirlpool Corporation, says Zera is one of the first products from the company’s innovation lab, which was established to “fast-track products to market that address previously unsolved and real consumer needs”. The system is being rolled out in select US markets, including Austin, Chicago and San Francisco, this month.
To help reduce food waste in the first place, LG has developed an IoT system for fridges which automatically activates a sterilisation process when it senses temperature and/or humidity issues, in order to extend food’s shelf life.
British start-up Smarter Applications, meanwhile, has FridgeCam, a wireless fridge camera that sends the user reminders about food-expiry dates via a mobile app, and also makes recipe suggestions to use up the contents of your fridge.