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'The Muncher' turns organic waste into compost in less than an hour

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July 6, 2011

A mock-up of an industrial-scale version of The Muncher, a prototype system that rapidly c...

A mock-up of an industrial-scale version of The Muncher, a prototype system that rapidly converts municipal organic waste into compost (Image: Ecologico-Logic)

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A number of cities around the world now sort their municipal trash, diverting organic matter into giant anaerobic composters that turn it into nutrient-rich soil. Such systems can be very expensive, however, and have a large physical footprint. The composting process can take as little as 14 days, or as long as one year. Nevada-based company Ecologico-Logic, however, has created an alternative system, called The Muncher. Not only is it relatively small, but its makers claim that it can convert organic waste into mulched and liquid compost in less than an hour.

Currently in the prototype stage, The Muncher's patented accelerated waste digestion process starts with it mechanically shredding pre-separated organic garbage, thus reducing its volume while increasing its surface area. Aerobic microbes living within the system, assisted by a proprietary chemical treatment, then break that matter down. As with existing municipal systems, the resulting compost can then be used in city projects, or sold to help offset the cost of the system.

The mulched compost created by The Muncher (Image: Ecologico-Logic)

Not only is the organic waste kept out of the landfill, but it also takes up much less space - one ton (0.9 metric tons) of garbage can reportedly be converted to about 600 pounds (272 kg) of solid cake mulch and liquid effluent. The company claims that The Muncher creates no toxic gases, hazardous compounds or foul odors, that it kills pathogens in the garbage, and that the compost it produces contains no harmful chemicals.

Inorganic waste can also be fed through the system in order to reduce its volume, thereby reducing tipping fees and allowing landfills to stay in use longer.

Ecologico-Logic is currently looking at building industrial Munchers that could process up to 50 tons (45 metric tons) of waste per day. Down the road, however, the company also envisions smaller units that could be used by restaurants, or even in people's homes. Because The Muncher's composting process does produce carbon dioxide, the use of integrated algae vats for capturing that CO2 is also being investigated.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
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5 Comments

Compost ? Hummm Landfill gases is my first thought. Now if you feed it into a bio-digester...

Erwin Lapschies
6th July, 2011 @ 08:45 pm PDT

the biggest waste of gasoline and diesel from new york garbage is running trucks and TRAINCARS full of garbage to get to jersey, pennsyvania, northern new york and yes, VIRGINIA AND SOUTH CAROLINA.

you are burning gasoline on ROUND TRIP transport to bring full loads of trash to landfills and then to bring empty trucks and traincars back to pick up the garbage. it is obscenly wasteful. process the garbage in the city or nearby.

governors island would ahve been an ideal place to process the garbage of over 13million people living , working in or near new york city. alas, the mafia controls this business, and so long as gas is cheap, they will continue to be able to do so.

Facebook User
7th July, 2011 @ 10:58 am PDT

Sounds great but does not address the fundamental problem: public (gov) businesses. No product or service will be supplied by a monopoly in a satisfactory manner. They cannot compete with the market.

Usually, at this point in the discussion a rebuttal is offered which begins with "yes,but...". "Yes" is all that counts, there is no "but"! A monopoly cannot be "reformed" or streamlined. It is fundamentally flawed. End of debate. Except that the debate goes on and on and on,for centuries. Yes, the idea that peaceful actions must be outlawed, i.e., stopped by force or threat of force (gov), for the common good, is INDEFENSIBLE, but ongoing. Why? It benefits some who wish to avoid competition at the expense all. That's the purpose of gov. It always has been, and always will be.

voluntaryist
7th July, 2011 @ 12:32 pm PDT

So Voluntaryist, the government monopoly on the military forces should be broken up to allow more efficient private military?

Monopoly is inefficient but there are cases where not having the monopoly is worse. Essentially all government services are monopolies and yes, they are all wasteful. Which of them would be suitable for private enterprise and competition though?

It may well be that effective processing of garbage is inherently unprofitable. That means it can only be done by a government, tax (or partially) funded "monopoly". Without government bodies the world would be a sad and sorry place without roads, schools, hospitals, stable nations and only the law an individual or wealthy individuals can afford.

Having said that, garbage disposal, I think can be profitable and inventions such as this allow it, or at least move us toward it.

I certainly can't believe the mountains of organic waste we produce is without market value. The volume of mulch and compost I apply to my veges would be testament to that. The question is only of effort to produce that compost...

Scion
8th July, 2011 @ 02:34 am PDT

Yeah hopefully they manage to pull of a consumer friendly size of this tech...

Bhasker Rao
25th July, 2011 @ 07:45 am PDT
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