/> ED I T O R S C H O I C E IN N O V A T IO N A W A R D
X

Whirlpool's food recycler makes composting a high-tech venture

WLabs by Whirlpool Corporation might've found a smarter way to turn food waste into fertilizer -- the Zera Food Recycler.

meganwollertonportraits0719-23a
Megan Wollerton
whirlpoolzeraphotos-2.jpg
1 of 11 Chris Monroe/CNET

This is Zera, a $1,199 "food recycler"/composter.

whirlpoolzeraphotos-1.jpg
2 of 11 Chris Monroe/CNET

Zera is a plug-in kitchen appliance designed to turn your table scraps into fertilizer.

whirlpoolzeraphotos-8.jpg
3 of 11 Chris Monroe/CNET

Simply slide open the lid and drop in your food.

whirlpoolzeraphotos-3.jpg
4 of 11 Chris Monroe/CNET

Zera is designed to hold up to 8 pounds of food -- that's roughly the food waste a family of four creates in a typical week.

whirlpoolzeraphotos-7.jpg
5 of 11 Chris Monroe/CNET

This gizmo senses when you add food and will automatically initiate a 2-minute process to push the food to the bottom of the built-in bin after you've closed the door.

whirlpoolzeraphotos-11.jpg
6 of 11 Chris Monroe/CNET

Before you press start, toss in one of WLabs' bags of coconut husk pellets (a four-pack costs $12).

They help speed up the food-to-fertilizer process.

whirlpoolzeraphotos-5.jpg
7 of 11 Chris Monroe/CNET

After that, you can press start either on Zera directly or through the related app.

Zera's software doesn't currently support third-party smart home integrations.

whirlpoolzeraphotos-4.jpg
8 of 11 Chris Monroe/CNET

Zera relies on airflow, high heat, internal mechanical action and the package of coconut husks to grind down the food and turn it into fertilizer.

whirlpoolzeraphotos-9.jpg
9 of 11 Chris Monroe/CNET

Check out the finished product.

It can take anywhere from 16 to 24 hours to complete a cycle.

whirlpoolzeraphotos-10.jpg
10 of 11 Chris Monroe/CNET

You should get roughly 2 pounds of fertilizer for 8 pounds of food waste.

whirlpoolzeraphotos-6.jpg
11 of 11 Chris Monroe/CNET

The Zera Food Recycler is currently in the prototype stage, but an Indiegogo campaign is slated to launch in January 2017 with early adopter pricing starting at $699.

More Galleries

iPhone 13 Pro, 13 Pro Max camera testing: Photos from Apple's highest end 2021 phones

More Galleries

iPhone 13 Pro, 13 Pro Max camera testing: Photos from Apple's highest end 2021 phones

66 Photos
The best Nintendo Switch games to play in 2021

More Galleries

The best Nintendo Switch games to play in 2021

39 Photos
The 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL Roadster is a fundamental shift

More Galleries

The 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL Roadster is a fundamental shift

25 Photos
2022 Ford Expedition: More than meets the eye

More Galleries

2022 Ford Expedition: More than meets the eye

54 Photos
Movies coming in 2021 and 2022 from Netflix, Marvel, HBO and more

More Galleries

Movies coming in 2021 and 2022 from Netflix, Marvel, HBO and more

65 Photos
2022 Honda Passport aims for more adventure

More Galleries

2022 Honda Passport aims for more adventure

6 Photos
Best dating apps of 2021

More Galleries

Best dating apps of 2021

13 Photos