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Zera by Wlabs, Las Vegas Zera by Wlabs, Las Vegas

CES 2017: Garbage disposal

11 : 01 : 2017 CES 2017 : Waste Warriors : Whirlpool

Las Vegas – The innovation arm of home appliances manufacturer Whirlpool has unveiled a fast-acting food compost bin.

  • Zera breaks down food waste in a matter of hours rather than weeks
  • The device holds 3.5kg of food waste – the average amount produced by a family of four each week
  • Like other WLabs products, Zera will be funded and sold through Indiegogo

Most Americans do not compost their food, but would do so if it was easier, according to a study by the National Waste & Recycling Association. WLabs’ Zera promises to turn composting into a simpler affair, and requires minimal effort to set up and use.

Users fill the bin with up to 3.5kg of food waste over the course of a week. Once full, users switch on the device via a smartphone app or onboard button that activates heat, airflow and a turning mechanism, which break down the waste over the course of 16–24 hours. At the end of the cycle, the waste is expelled as a useable fertiliser. Coconut husk pellets, which are known to benefit soil and fertiliser due to their water-retention properties, can be added during the process, and will be sold by Whirlpool.

Like other WLabs products, Zera will be funded and sold through Indiegogo. While it might seem strange for a corporation to turn to crowdfunding to finance its projects, the strategy is part of WLabs’ feedback process, according to product manager Megha Agrawal. ‘We are an incubator for product categories that Whirlpool does not have a presence in,’ Agrawal explained to LS:N Global. ‘We use Indiegogo to understand who our consumer is and what they want.’

The Big Picture

Products such as Zera make it easier for Waste Warriors to reduce their environmental footprint. For more from from CES 2017, take a look at our Briefing, Behaviours and Shows sections.