Are you feeling a little anxious about global warming? Perhaps you feel as though you could be doing more to reduce our collective impact on our natural environment. Whatever the case, one thing that you have likely come across is the electric composter.
Are they really all that sustainable? How much electricity do they use? And how much greenhouse gas emissions can electric composters genuinely save?
In this article, we’re going to carry out an honest and practical assessment of electric composters. That way, if you are on the fence about whether or not they’re worth investing in, you should have all of the information you need to make an informed decision.
Here’s everything you need to know about the nature of electric composting…
Are electric composters really sustainable?
Traditional garden composter manufacturers will argue that electric composters are not sustainable. This is an unfair statement. The fact is, using an electric composter to reduce the amount of food waste that your household produces is far more sustainable than not bothering and simply throwing your food waste into the garbage to be sent off to a landfill.
Yes, electric composters require a certain amount of electricity to complete a full cycle (the amount of which we will cover shortly), and yes, technically speaking, traditional composting methods produce true compost (although the methods take significantly longer), however, it’s important to remember that not every household has a garden space large enough to accommodate a traditional composter. For people who live in a condo with only a small balcony for example, an electric composter is the only (and thus most sustainable) method of composting available.
Do electric composters provide the most effective method of composting? Perhaps not. Do electric composters provide a convenient and accessible means of composting for homeowners who do not have a garden – or perhaps do not produce enough daily food waste to justify using traditional composting methods – absolutely!
Ultimately, electric food waste composters are less eco-friendly than having a backyard compost pile – although they do reduce food waste, lower methane emissions, and are—without question—superior to throwing out your food scraps.
How much electricity do electric composters use?
You might think that using an electric composter is counterproductive as it requires electricity to operate (which can’t be green, right?) Well, the good news is that comparatively speaking, an electric composter uses very little electricity. That, and when you compare that energy usage to the number of greenhouse gases that can be cut via composting (which we will cover shortly), the trade-off is entirely worth it.
The amount of electricity required to power an electric composter will vary from one model to the next. However, on average, you can expect a typical electric composter to consume anywhere between 1 and 1.5 kWh for a single cycle (not so dissimilar to a meal in a slow cooker).
On the whole, electric composters are very eco-friendly and require little power to break down your food waste into a useful bi-product that can feed your house plants and keep them happy and healthy.
How much greenhouse gas emissions can electric composters save?
Households account for the largest share of food waste. In fact, in the US alone, 37.2% of all food waste is residential. So, how much greenhouse gas emissions can electric composters save?
Put it this way: every pound of food that is thrown away (which invariably ends up in landfills) generates an average of 3.8 lbs of carbon-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions.
Given that the average household throws away some 1.96 kg of food per day (4.32 lbs), it’s fair to assume that, over the course of a year, approximately 5,548 lbs of carbon-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions are produced – the majority of which could be avoided entirely by using an electric composter.
Now imagine that everyone decided to start composting. According to the University of Indiana, if everyone in the United States composted their food waste rather than throwing it out only for it to end up in landfills, it would be equivalent to removing 7.8 million cars from the road!
Of course, even if it were to become a legal requirement, getting everyone on earth to compost their food waste is a seemingly impossible task. That being said, the difference that you can make is almost certainly worthwhile.
If you aren’t quite convinced, let us leave you with this famous Asian proverb, as quoted by the Dalai Lama; “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito”.
As you can see, electric composters really are worth the effort and they can and will reduce your carbon footprint.
Are they better than backyard composters? No.
Are they the perfect alternative for households that do not have a backyard? Yes!
The fact is, if you have house plants and are conscious about the amount of food waste that you throw out on a daily basis, you can indeed take those scraps and turn them into food for your plants.
Why throw out perfectly good waste when it can be used to feed your plants all of the nutrients they need to thrive?
The best part? You can buy even more houseplants; growing your own fruit and vegetables, improving the air quality in your home, giving you a much-needed mood-boost, and attracting bees and butterflies to your balcony – all of which can be thrown into your electric composter when the time comes thus completing the cycle.
All in all, we highly recommend that you consider investing in an electric composter off your own. Every little helps!