I'm an avid recycler, don't get me wrong. And I love to shop sustainably, too. But composting was always in the too-hard basket, primarily because I'm terrified of cockroaches, and figured a small container filled with food scraps that sat on my bench, then a worm farm in the back courtyard that stank on hot days would draw those awful bugs like flies. Also, probably flies.
The FoodCycler offered an opportunity to be kinder to the planet without compromising on, well, the smell of my kitchen.
What Is The FoodCycler?
The Breville FoodCycler is a medium-sized box that you can plug in anywhere, really. I have mine plugged into the wall in my study - the brilliance of this product is that because it generates no smells, you can have it in spaces other than your kitchen. If you don't have much bench space like me, it may be too much for your kitchen.
The FoodCycler is designed to minimise your food waste into what Breville call "EcoChips" - dried out stuff you can then scatter in your garden. It claims to reduce the volume of your food waste by up to 80%.
How Does The FoodCycler Work?
Essentially, the machine dries out your food scraps. By doing so, it reduces their size. The process takes around 4-6 hours, and involves the scraps being dehydrated, grinded and cooled.
From there, you get some dry, mulchy looking stuff in the bottom of the removeable bucket that you can use as literal mulch in the garden. Even if you then pop it into the bin, it's far smaller and faster to break down than original food scraps.
Is The FoodCycler Any Good?
I tried the FoodCycler several times over the course of a week. I wasn't game to pop my leftover spaghetti or anything in there, but I did put all my vegetable scraps from making a big minestrone, plus other veggie scraps from a salad.
The big plus point is that the machine is so easy to use. The setup is simple, and all you have to do is fill the removeable bucket without going past the rim, pop it into the machine, put the lid on and press one button. Then, it does the job overnight, or through the day.
It's also WHISPER quiet. You can easily leave it on and forget it's doing its job. Plus, it genuinely doesn't emit much of a smell - I will say I could smell some vegetable smells, but more like a very, very faint scent of cooking veggies, like when you make soup.
The end results are amazing - just these tiny food scraps, all dried up, at the bottom of the bucket.
What Else Should I Know About The FoodCycler?
I will say there are a few things I found out that you should know before you use one. Firstly, don't use the EcoChips on indoor plants, or on the top of your soil around plants. Basically, if they get wet - like anything that's been dehydrated - they'll swell with water and return to bits of carrot and so on. Not so cute. It's best to dig the EcoChips into the soil.
Also, the bucket will likely have some stuck-on bits to it that you can't remove without soaking. This is a bit annoying but not too bad, it just meant that a portion of the EcoChips returned to rubbish, and I emptied my drain filter into the bin with those bits.
How Much Is The FoodCycler?
The Breville FoodCycler will cost you $499, and is available from the Breville site here.
Interested in more sustainability and environmental content? The latest issue of marie claire magazine is all about caring for our planet. Buy a copy here.