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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.

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meganwollertonportraits0719-23a

Megan Wollerton

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1 of 11 Chris Monroe/CNET

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

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

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Simply slide open the lid and drop in your food.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Check out the finished product.

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

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

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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.

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