What is an Electronic Composter?
You may not have heard the term before. This category of products is still trying to find its footing and final marketing labels. They are also called food recyclers, food processors, or food digesters. They all operate in a similar manor, with the exception of the above-mentioned coir and microbes. Food scraps are placed in a bucket, the unit is closed and turned on. An automated cycle dries the material and “grinds” it. The time needed for this depends on how much you put in and how wet it is, but most units take 3 to 5 hours.
At the end of the process, you have something that is dry but still kind of resembles the food you put in. Some items turn into brown powder while others stay quite chunky and fibrous.
There is a bit of odor, but it is not unpleasant. Some units have charcoal filters that reduce the odor while it is exhausting the water vapor.
The buckets are quite small. The one I tried, had a 2-liter capacity (0.5 gals), but that’s a bit of an exaggeration since you can’t fill it to the top and most of the space is air. We produce very little kitchen waste, mostly orange rinds, banana peels, apple cores, some potato peelings, and a couple of eggshells and we can fill it in 2-3 days.
While composting is a guilt-free way to recycle food scraps by incorporating them into soil for your plants, there’s no denying that it’s also a hassle. For those living in apartments or urban areas, keeping up a routine means bringing worms into your home and, in turn, putting up with a foul stench that is difficult to conceal. Wait too long and your food could even start leaking through the compost bags, resulting in the need for a compost bin deep clean every time your busy work schedule gets in the way of lugging it over to a food scrap drop-off, assuming you’re lucky enough to have one nearby.
To solve this problem, a number of composting machines have started to crop up including TMK-1, a device that converts your food scraps into compost using a combination of heat, abrasion, and oxygen and achieving the same goal you would creating compost with earthworms—minus the less-than-desirable side effects. By fragmenting organic waste, the TMK-1 expedites the composting process at the literal press of a button. One button gives you complete control over the TMK’s power state in addition to cycling through its three modes: Express Mode, which breaks down food quickly in just over four hours; Eco Mode, which takes its time over a 20+ hour period to preserve the maximum amount of nutrients; and Bioplastic Mode, designed to compost a small list of approved plastics.
At only 25 x 40 x 25 cm, TMK-1 assumes the size of a small appliance, but one that operates at much lower sound frequencies—between 40 and 50 dB compared to the 90db+ you would hear from a food processor. It’s also not much bigger than an analog compost bin. Yet, despite its compact form factor, it can still contain up to 3 liters of waste at a time. With a dishwasher-safe stainless steel bucket inside, it’s a breeze to clean, too.