Composting goes electric
Community composting – is this it?
By Colleen Kimmett
February 14, 2011
When Michael Levenston was offered the chance to bring a dragon into his demonstration garden in Kitsilano, he was skeptical. After some convincing, the Red Dragon–a cherry-red electric composter–found a new home.
“So far it’s working like it’s supposed to,” Levenston says. “I’m very excited about making clean, good quality compost.”
The Red Dragon–about the size of a bar fridge–is the smallest of a line of electric composters distributed by GreenGood Composters. It runs on 60 to 80 kilowatts of electricity per month (about four dollars’ worth), and can turn up to 100 kilograms of food waste into several kilograms of compost in 24 hours. It was so effective, in fact, that City Farmer recently started using a larger version, the White Dragon.
The composters are being used at restaurants and other businesses, as well as large public institutions like schools and even military bases, says Brian Leung, director of GreenGood’s Vancouver office. The advantage is that they allow on-site composting with no smell and no rodents.
The machines do this by heating food waste and mixing it regularly. Heat evaporates the water in the waste, which is usually 80 to 90 per cent of its weight and volume, and also kills any harmful bacteria in the compost, meaning it can be safely used in the garden.
“Most of the units now are being sold in Korea as well as in Japan,” explains Leung. These countries have banned food scraps from the waste stream because they simply don’t have the space to expand landfills.