The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
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."
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Emily Deanne
Shower shoes? Check. Extra-long sheets? Yep. Energy efficiency checklist? No worries — we've got you covered there. If you're one of the nation's 12.1 million full-time undergraduate college students, you no doubt have a lot to keep in mind as you head off to school. If you're reading this, climate change is probably one of them, and with one-third of students choosing to live on campus, dorm life can have a big impact on the health of our planet. In fact, the annual energy use of one typical dormitory room can generate as much greenhouse gas pollution as the tailpipe emissions of a car driven more than 156,000 miles.
By Lorraine Chow
Kokia drynarioides is a small but significant flowering tree endemic to Hawaii's dry forests. Native Hawaiians used its large, scarlet flowers to make lei. Its sap was used as dye for ropes and nets. Its bark was used medicinally to treat thrush.
States that invest heavily in renewable energy will generate billions of dollars in health benefits in the next decade instead of spending billions to take care of people getting sick from air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, according to a new study from MIT and reported on by The Verge.
Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.
By Kristin Ohlson
From where I stand inside the South Dakota cornfield I was visiting with entomologist and former USDA scientist Jonathan Lundgren, all the human-inflicted traumas to Earth seem far away. It isn't just that the corn is as high as an elephant's eye — are people singing that song again? — but that the field burgeons and buzzes and chirps with all sorts of other life, too.
Humanity faced its hottest month in at least 140 years in July, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said on Thursday. The finding confirms similar analysis provided by its EU counterparts.
By Hans Nicholas Jong
Indonesia's president has made permanent a temporary moratorium on forest-clearing permits for plantations and logging.
It's a policy the government says has proven effective in curtailing deforestation, but whose apparent gains have been criticized by environmental activists as mere "propaganda."