Every year, the average person produces 475 pounds of food-based garbage. Without a doubt, this is unfortunate and concerning. Furthermore, it produces a feeling of wastefulness on anyone that is aware of their personal responsibility with the environment. Luckily, however, there are ways to reduce your and your family’s individual food waste. In this article, I will go over one of the best and most convenient: the electric kitchen composter. Apart from reducing food waste, this device can produce bio-degradable fertilizer matter that can be used to feed your plants. So, how does an electric kitchen composter work? If this piques your interest, keep reading.
What You Will Need To Follow This Tutorial
- A three-step electric kitchen composter.
- pH-balanced soil.
- Baking soda.
- Organic waste (see below).
What to Compost
Unfortunately, not all food waste can or should be composted. The following is a list of composting-approved materials:
- Wood shavings (only use untreated wood).
- Coffee grounds.
- Cardboard rolls (from toilet paper or paper towels).
- Hair and fur.
- Grass/lawn clippings.
- Fruit and vegetable scraps.
What to Avoid
In contrast, there are certain types of organic materials you should avoid at all costs:
- Chemically treated or processed wood.
- Meat bones or scraps.
- Most dairy products, as these can fuel odor issues.
- Pet waste.
- Human waste.
Parts of an Electric Kitchen Composter
Before moving on to the step-by-step instructions on how to use an electric composter machine, it would be useful to go over its basic parts and construction. They are as follows:
The hopper is the first holding area for waste. In it, you will place said waste in its first, untreated stage. The hopper normally heats up to a temperature of about 160 degrees Fahrenheit. After the first stage of the composting process is completed, the hopper will deposit the materials into subsequent chambers below.
Motorized Mixing Wand
In order to ensure consistency, electric kitchen composters use a motorized mixing wand that is in charge of continuously turning the material mixture. Normally, this process is automatic and constant during the first stages of the composting process.
All electric kitchen composters feature a built-in heater that is in charge of keeping the mixture at optimally-high temperatures, accelerating the speed of the composting process as a result. Depending on the model and type of the composter, this built-in heater can be regulated.
The microorganisms in the soil that are responsible for the composting process need oxygen to live and thrive. A composter’s air pump draws a constant flow of oxygen to ensure that this happens in the most efficient way possible.
More often than not, organic material has traces of chemicals that can produce unpleasant odors. For that reason, electric kitchen composters feature carbon filters that remove unwanted substances from the mixture, effectively eliminating unwanted odors.
After the composting process has been completed, the composter drops the fertilizer mixture in the cure tray. There, it can cool down appropriately over a few hours.
In addition to the cure tray, most electric kitchen composters have a secondary tray that is meant to collect any and all excess liquids that may result from the composting process.
Stages of Electric Composting
Most electric kitchen composters feature a three-stage composting process. On average, this process lasts around five hours. However, some of the larger and most advanced models may take up to 48 hours. The three stages are as follows:
Stage A: Drying
During this stage, the electric kitchen composter heats up the waste mixture to a temperature ideal for gently drying it. Apart from drying the mixture, a temperature of around 160 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for eliminating weed seeds, plant diseases and most pathogens. To ensure that the temperature is evenly distributed, composters also use a motorized mixing hand that gently turns the mixture during this entire stage of the process. In addition, during this stage, many composters use a carbon filter to remove any unpleasant odors from the mixture.
Stage B: Grinding
The second stage of composting consists of breaking down the food waste into small, often powder-like particles. After the previous stage has reduced the volume of the mixture by approximately 90 percent, the composter pushes it to another chamber. There, the grinding process begins. By breaking the mixture down this much, the machine is capable of producing quick-release fertilizer. This means that, once released into the soil, the broken-down material will quickly and easily combine with the soil to provide its nutrients.
Stage C: Cooling
After the two first stages have been concluded, the composter moves the mixture once again to a new chamber. Acting like a tumbler, this chamber gradually returns the compost to room temperature so it can be safely handled. At the same time, it continues the aeration and dehumidifying of the previous stages. Once this final stage of the process concludes, the compost is moved to the cure tray. After that, it is ready to be used as fertilizer.
Step One: Prepare the Mixture
Before using your electric kitchen composter, it is important to appropriately prepare the mixture. Gather all the organic material in one bucket or bowl. Check the maximum capacity of your electric kitchen composter in order to determine the right amount of mixture you should gather at any one time. If there are any chunks or pieces of material larger than the palm of your hand, do your best to divide it into smaller pieces. Make sure there are no inorganic or unsuitable materials in the mixture. At this point, you are ready to use the composter.
Step Two: Fill the Composter
Open the composter’s lid that gives access to the hopper. Make sure it is clean and dry. Carefully, transfer the mixture from your bucket or bowl to the hopper. Using a ladle, gently turn the mixture a few times, ensuring it is consistent and it doesn’t have unwanted pockets of air. You can also use this opportunity to give the mixture one last check to make sure there are not unsuitable materials in it. Once all that is done, close the composter’s lid making sure it locks properly.
Step Three: Add Carbon Soda and Soil (Optional)
Depending on the type of materials you are composting, you may want to add a small amount of carbon soda to the mixture before starting up the machine. This will help balance its pH if it’s needed. In addition, you may want to add a handful or two of soil to help the mixture acquire a suitable texture. That depends, however, on the types of organic material you are composting.
Step Four: Activate the Composter
At last, you are ready to get the composter going. First, make sure it’s correctly plugged in. While you are at it, corroborate that the lid is tightly and securely shut and the composter is stable and well-balanced. Once you confirm that everything is in place, proceed to turn on the composter. Then, activate it by pushing the start button. This will immediately begin stage one in the composting process. Take into account that, typically, the electric kitchen composter will automatically go through the entire composting process without requiring any more input from you. However, it is always a good idea to give it a check from time to time.
Step Four: Remove Compost and Use
After the process is finished, you can remove and use the compost. Normally, this process is signaled through lights, sounds or both. If at all possible, use the fertilizer agent immediately after taking it out of the composter.
Did you enjoy this tutorial on how to operate an electric kitchen composter? Without a doubt, this type of device can save you a lot of time and energy that you would otherwise spend composting. Even more than that, it can help produce compost of the highest quality possible, ensuring it will be nutritious to your plants. Hopefully, the information I just provided will help you do just this, helping your economy and reducing your food waste as a result. If you liked this article, please share it with your friends and family!