The Sage FoodCycler cooks your food waste. But who is it for?

Rating: 5/10 | Price: from £ 399 at Sage

Recycling food waste is basically a good thing. Our waste and peelings make compost to grow more food, at home or on an industrial scale, and the methane produced can be mined and converted into biogas. Without it, 437,000 tonnes of household food waste would be incinerated or dumped in landfills in the UK alone each year.

But, no matter how good the intention, very few of us will tell you that dealing with garbage juice, sloppy leftovers, fruit flies, and general grime is high on their to-do list. The Sage FoodCycler, however, promises to turn your leftovers into dry, odorless “EcoChips” that take up 80% less bin space.

About the size of a bread machine (27.5 x 32 x 36 cm), the FoodCycler is a simple machine. There’s only one button, and once the pull-out bucket is filled with two liters of food waste, all you have to do is lock the lid and push it down. Between four and six hours later, it will have dried and crushed the leftovers – and, assuming you haven’t included contraband like apricot kernels, large bones, and thick rinds, you’ll be rewarded with an impressive small pile of dry brown. mulch. The whole cycle, including cooling, takes around eight hours, so it’s definitely a device to run overnight.

Sage claims that two liters of trash turns into 0.34 liters of crisps, and in our month-long test it seemed there or about, but the before and after are undeniably impressive. The bucket has a decent non-stick coating, although we did notice that wetter trash can cause gunk to build up around the conductive spots inside that needed to be scraped off before cleaning. Fortunately, it can be cleaned in the dishwasher.

However, the capacity of the FoodCycler is a bit of a problem. Tested in a home with two adults and a child, there was almost always more leftovers at the end of the day than there was room in the bucket. As a result, we needed a second compost bin for the overflow, adding even more to the kitchen clutter, which instead undoes the object.

On the back of the unit are two carbon filters which do a great job of keeping odors to a minimum. They do, however, need to be replaced every 500 hours (around 60 cycles) at a cost of £ 35 per pair. Once the cycle has worked, you can either throw the trash in your brown waste recycling bin or add it to a compost pile and let the microorganisms get to work and break them down into useful food for the vegetable garden. and plants.

But don’t confuse these EcoChips with ready-to-use compost. Your leftover food has been dehydrated and chopped up, but at no time have mesophilic microorganisms, thermophilic microbes, heat and time had a chance to work their magic. Good home compost takes weeks, if not months, to create.

This does not mean that your notes are not useful, however. The Vitamix and Breville versions of this machine are already available in the United States, and FoodCycler’s dedicated website suggests that the chemical composition of the treated waste has an average NPK (nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus ratio) of 4-1-1, meaning that if you mix it with your soil, it will get a healthy boost.

But be warned, Sage recommends that you wait 90 days before using EcoChip reinforced soil if you are growing food. Plus, FoodCycler suggests a ratio of only 1:10, and that’s after you’ve let it “cure” for one to four weeks. So in summary, you can make nature less disgusting, but you can’t rush it.

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