Waste Not, Stink Not

The first nose-friendly indoor composter reaches the U.S.

Nature is good at dealing with organic garbage: Bacteria turns it into plant food. Rural residents use this phenomenon to generate free fertilizer in compost piles. Rotting trash attracts rodents and repels neighbors, however, so those of us off the farm tend to throw out our organic waste along with everything else. But the NatureMill Automatic Composter ($400; naturemill.com) is like a Mr. Fusion for your garden. The size of a normal trash can, it produces enough compost to sustain up to a 400-square-foot plot, while a charcoal filter scotches any odor. Toss in almost any unwanted edibles, and the machine turns them into a nitrogen-rich soil additive. And the NatureMill is easy on the electric bill, costing about 50 cents a month to operate.

HOW IT WORKS

As you add organic waste to its reactor [1], the NatureMill´s computer monitors bacterial activity to see if it needs to turn on its heater or mixing wand [2] to encourage growth. The air pump [3] draws oxygen into the compost to feed the bacteria. Stale air is de-scented through a charcoal filter [4] and vented out the back. In about a week, compost drops into the cure tray [5], freeing space for new waste while leaving behind enough compost to maintain the cultures. Open the side door [6], and get thee to the garden!