An easy, quick way to make odour and pest-free organic material all year long.
Avid gardeners and plant lovers know the value of compost. It adds nutrition to the soil and enhances soil structure so it can better hold the air, water and nutrients it needs to make plants happy and healthy. An advantage of home-made compost over the store-bought variety is that you know exactly what’s in the compost. No pesticides, no odour, no pests. You can also produce compost all year long. Plus, it’s a good feeling to know you’re doing your part to keep organic material out of the local landfill site.
Waste recyclers (aka electric composters) have been available for years. Unlike pile or tumbler composting, which rely on aerobic microbes to break organic matter into compost over weeks or months, waste recyclers heat and grind kitchen scraps over several hours to produce a loose, dry all-natural organic material that is more akin to fertilizer than compost.
I’ve been using the new Canadian-made Tero electric food recycler for about 2 months and am very pleased with the results.
Dimensions: 15.8″ x 8.5″ x 11″
Weight: 23 lbs
Tank capacity: 4L
Power consumption: < 1.0kWH per cycle
Cycle duration: 3 to 8 hours
Noise level: < 60 dB
The Tero is about the size of a small microwave, and if you have a tiny kitchen, like I do, takes up a fair amount of counterspace. Fortunately it doesn’t need to live in the kitchen – I set mine on the floor in a corner of the sun room in an unobtrusive spot. It does need to be within 4′ of an electrical outlet – the length of its power cord.
The Tero is akin to an oven. Open the lid and inside is an non-stick metal bucket into which you put food waste. Inside the bucket are two grinders, each with 4 blades. The bucket and grinders can easily be removed for cleaning (though it’s not strictly necessary to do so). You can put up to 4L of just about any organic kitchen waste into the Tero except cooking oils and fats, hard bones, nut shells, fruit pits and the like, and any liquids. You also don’t want to put in too much sweet fruit. Ideally aim to vary the type of waste you put into the unit and cut up any large pieces into smaller 1/2″ to 1″ bits.
How long it takes to fill the bucket depends on how many people are in your household and your eating habits. It took me 3 to 4 days to fill the bucket. Rather than toss leftovers into the bucket every day I put them into a kitchen compost bin and, when the bin is full, I empty it into the Tero.
There are no odours emanating from the Tero either during the time you’re filling the bucket, when it’s in operation, and when you open it up to ‘harvest’ your organic goodness. This is due to the charcoal filter and dust filter located in the Tero’s lid, which do a commendable job of keeping decaying food odours at bay. You do need to change the charcoal every 3-4 months. The Tero comes with 1 refill that last 3-4 months. After that, each refill cost $95 for a 4-pack of anti-odor filter.
Using the Tero couldn’t be easier – deposit the recommended amount of kitchen waste into the bucket (there’s a fill line to make it easy to know how much to chuck in), close the lid and press the start button. That’s it. Every few minutes the grinders turn for thirty seconds or so, chomping the waste. Regulated heat dries the contents.
The Tero is reasonably quiet – at about 60 decibels it’s noticeable but not too disturbing (in my case, located in the sunroom it’s not bothersome at all). I plug the Tero in just before bedtime and let it run at night. Once the composting cycle is finished the Tero automatically shuts down.
I’ve now done 8 cycles with the Tero and each time its produced the same dry, crumbly pile of organic material consisting of both fine (dust like) and coarse (up to about 3/4″ diameter) waste. I mix the fertilizer into the top half inch or so of plant soil. You could also just layer it over the surface of the soil. I’ve ended up with more fertilizer than I can use – some I give to plant-loving friends, the balance I simply store in Ziplock bags.
Making your own organic fertilizer couldn’t be any easier. The Tero is ideal for anyone who doesn’t have access to an outdoor space suitable for making compost – apartment and condo dwellers come to mind. Plant enthusiasts who want to make their own high quality fertilizer all year long will want to check out the Tero as well.
There is also a Tero Plus that offers WIFI connection and can be controlled via an app.