Father-Daughter Team Develops Kitchen Composter to Reduce Food Waste
Cities like New York and Austin, Texas aren't challenging residents to compost simply because the practice provides rich soil.
U.S. food waste per capita has grown by 50 percent in less than four decades, according to a 2009 Public Library of Science (PLOS) study. A United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report estimates that about one-third of all food globally—1.3 billion tons—is wasted every year.
With figures like that, it's no wonder Van and Kristen Hess of Boulder, Co. felt compelled to create CompoKeeper, a disposal bin for small-scale, indoor compost collection. The father-daughter team are selling and marketing the product, but are trying to come up with $100,000 through a Kickstarter fund to manufacture more units. With two weeks to go, the product has received nearly $33,000 in pledges from more than 200 people.
The product arrives in an era when some of the nation's bigger cities are embracing or enforcing composting. San Francisco mandated the separation of compost, trash and recyclables about four years ago in pursuance of a zero-waste-by-2020 goal. Seattle approved a composting ordinance the following year. Outgoing New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg hopes 30 percent of the city's trash would be diverted from landfills by 2017, The Wall Street Journal reported.
In Austin, residents receive a $75 rebate if they downsize their their trash bin, take a composting course and buy a compost system. These efforts are aimed at keeping rotting food waste out of landfills, where it eventually produces methane, a gas with 25 times the global warming potential than carbon dioxide, according to the PLOS study.
Van Hess invented his product after his community initiated a curbside composting program in 2008. The six-gallon CompoKeeper comes with a carbon filter that absorbs the odors you would normally smell from your trash can. It also features a patented foot pedal that seals a compostable bag inside of the bin, designed to lock the smells within.
"Van loves to cook but didn't love the idea of odors and fruit files swarming around the kitchen," Kristen wrote on Kickstarter. "So, he went into the garage to tinker and emerged a few weeks later with a better way to get food scraps from the cutting board to the curbside bin."
- Redwoods are the world's tallest trees.
- Now scientists have discovered they are even bigger than we thought.
- Using laser technology they map the 80-meter giants.
- Trees are a key plank in the fight against climate change.
They are among the largest trees in the world, descendants of forests where dinosaurs roamed.
Pixabay / Simi Luft<p><span>Until recently, measuring these trees meant scaling their 80 meter high trunks with a tape measure. Now, a team of scientists from University College London and the University of Maryland uses advanced laser scanning, to create 3D maps and calculate the total mass.</span></p><p>The results are striking: suggesting the trees <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">may be as much as 30% larger than earlier measurements suggested.</a> Part of that could be due to the additional trunks the Redwoods can grow as they age, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a process known as reiteration</a>.</p>
New 3D measurements of large redwood trees for biomass and structure. Nature / UCL<p>Measuring the trees more accurately is important because carbon capture will probably play a key role in the battle against climate change. Forest <a href="https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/09/carbon-sequestration-natural-forest-regrowth" target="_blank">growth could absorb billions of tons</a> of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.</p><p>"The importance of big trees is widely-recognised in terms of carbon storage, demographics and impact on their surrounding ecosystems," the authors wrote<a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank"> in the journal Nature</a>. "Unfortunately the importance of big trees is in direct proportion to the difficulty of measuring them."</p><p>Redwoods are so long lived because of their ability to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cope with climate change, resist disease and even survive fire damage</a>, the scientists say. Almost a fifth of their volume may be bark, which helps protect them.</p>
Carbon Capture Champions<p><span>Earlier research by scientists at Humboldt University and the University of Washington found that </span><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378112716302584" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Redwood forests store almost 2,600 tonnes of carbon per hectare</a><span>, their bark alone containing more carbon than any other neighboring species.</span></p><p>While the importance of trees in fighting climate change is widely accepted, not all species enjoy the same protection as California's coastal Redwoods. In 2019 the world lost the equivalent of <a href="https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation-and-forest-degradation" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">30 soccer fields of forest cover every minute</a>, due to agricultural expansion, logging and fires, according to The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).</p>
Pixabay<p>Although <a href="https://c402277.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/publications/1420/files/original/Deforestation_fronts_-_drivers_and_responses_in_a_changing_world_-_full_report_%281%29.pdf?1610810475" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the rate of loss is reported to have slowed in recent years</a>, reforesting the world to help stem climate change is a massive task.</p><p><span>That's why the World Economic Forum launched the Trillion Trees Challenge (</span><a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a><span>) and is engaging organizations and individuals across the globe through its </span><a href="https://uplink.weforum.org/uplink/s/uplink-issue/a002o00000vOf09AAC/trillion-trees" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Uplink innovation crowdsourcing platform</a><span> to support the project.</span></p><p>That's backed up by research led by ETH Zurich/Crowther Lab showing there's potential to restore tree coverage across 2.2 billion acres of degraded land.</p><p>"Forests are critical to the health of the planet," according to <a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a>. "They sequester carbon, regulate global temperatures and freshwater flows, recharge groundwater, anchor fertile soil and act as flood barriers."</p><p><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">Reposted with permission from the </em><span><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor"><a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/03/redwoods-store-more-co2-and-are-more-enormous-than-we-thought/" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>.</em></span></p>
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