Sun Frost Scrap Eater - A Stylish, High-Tech Composter
A Living Machine
The Scrap Eater is the only truly solar-powered composter. A warm environment accelerates the composting process. Using conventional techniques a compost pile at least 3 ft. across is needed to obtain the necessary elevated temperatures. To compensate, the Sun Frost Scrap Eater uses solar architectural techniques, glazing and insulation to attain elevated temperatures. The insulated walls of the composting chamber trap solar heat collected through the dome, along with heat generated internally by respiration of composting microbes. A unique feature of this insulation is its ability to keep the heat in, while it allows oxygen to freely flow to the composting microbes.
The unique shape of the acrylic bubble not only collects solar energy, but channels water to where it is needed most. Water that condenses on the inside of the dome runs down to the plants on the perimeter of the barrel. This process has a dual purpose. First, it reduces the need to water the plants because they are receiving water from the condensation under the dome. Second, the water is flowing to the outer perimeter rather than dripping into the composting chamber, which reduces the moisture level of the compost and the amount of dry material that must be added to the compost.
When the plants growing on the perimeter of the composter mature they will extend their roots to the bottom of the compost chamber and directly extract nutrients and moisture from the composted food scraps. This process continues the natural cycle much like it occurs in the wider biosphere.
The Scrap Eater is easy to use: just add your kitchen scraps, then periodically mix the pile with the supplied stirrer and add some dry material to the mix - some dry grass, dry leaves, or a little sawdust. The crank-style stirrer is made of solid stainless steel. It is extremely easy to use and does an excellent job of keeping the compost aerated. When the Scrap Eater fills up - in about six months for a family of four, and two years or more for a single-person household - you can remove the compost for use. The compost is a perfect plant fertilizer that can be used anywhere in your garden, including the growing area on the perimeter of your Scrap Eater.
How it Works
The Scrap Eater can be used to rapidly compost large batches of food scraps at one time, but is typically used by adding small amounts of scraps every few days. The ability of the composter to rapidly decompose food scraps decreases the rate at which the chamber fills up. As food scraps decompose they will decrease in volume by 20 times or more. Where does the food go? Part of the material is lost through evaporation, but most of the scraps are consumed by the hungry microbes in the composter and exhausted as carbon dioxide and water vapor.
If large quantities of food are added at one time, higher composting temperatures may be attained. Temperatures as high as 150°F may be generated with the addition of at least 1 cubic foot of the right combination of food and dry material. Conventional composters require 30 times the material to reach these high temperatures.
Worms may also be added to the Scrap Eater to assist in the composting process. They help to aerate the soil while producing a very effective soil additive. The compost chamber will typically be 30°F above the ambient temperature and during the summer may be too hot for the worms. To avoid these warm conditions the worms will migrate to the cooler perimeter where the plants are growing. As they migrate, nutrients from the composting area will be transported to the plants growing on the perimeter.
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