My husband and I live in an older residential neighborhood just a few blocks south of the Washington, DC border - one of those in-between suburban-like areas very near an urban community. A few decades ago, people here took good care to plant a lot of trees so that today our yard resembles more a forest floor than a lawn - grass only grows in patches, and it is difficult for us to get anything that likes much sun to grow.
We've made a few ventures into gardening, but the challenges of our yard have proven more challenging than our skills so far. Even so, a couple years ago, we acquired a good compost bin for outside that has a drawer in the base where we can extract rich compost when we need it. Yard and table scraps go in the top and when we think about it, we try to make sure to layer it properly so it will break down.
We don't do a whole lot with it to speed up the process, and since we make more compost than we currently use, we're mostly ok with that, but still, it can be frustrating to see how very long it takes most scraps to break down, and I worry sometimes about the scraps attracting critters we don't want to feed.
The only way to really prevent that is to chop up items for the compost into small bits - but I can't think of much that makes me feel more tired and put upon than having to chop up my scraps after I've already chopped everything up for dinner. Chop up a banana peel? Uh, no. Not happening.
Sometimes this means things are going into our composter that we know good and well are going to sit there for months. And worse, it sometimes means we just toss it into the trash where it will sit entombed in a landfill forever.
Since we are composting mainly to reduce our landfill waste rather than to garden, that seemed really counterintuitive, but I didn't have any answer to it until I read about the Ecotonix Green Cycler.
|MUCH faster breakdown|
The construction of the Green Cycler is quite impressive to me - the blades are housed in a unit that is quickly and easily removed to tuck into the dishwasher for cleaning, and so is the drawer that holds the chopped bits until they can be taken outside to the compost pile.
The handle scared us at first - the very first night, after looking at their chart about what can be composted, we tried to put an avocado seed through it - on feeling some major resistance, we were afraid it might snap the handle, so we stopped. It would have been terrible to break it on it's first run!
But since then, we've successfully chopped up several challenging items without any trouble - the key is to push the handle forward, then backward, and keep rocking it like that until the tough items break up.
I'm no longer worried that the handle will break - this thing is tough!
The Zeopack filter is a bit of brilliance all its own - packed with Zeolite, a toxin-absorber, this pad fits into place behind the choppers and, unlike filters in other appliances that have to be replaced often, this can be recharged by hanging it in sunlight for awhile. How cool is that?? If you decide it's gotten worn out, you can buy replacements for a mere $7.99 - but it's reusable for YEARS, so likely if you buy one, it'll be to put it to work in other places, like your stinky gym shoes or cat box. Whenever it does go belly up, you can just cut off the metal hanger, and the rest of it can be tossed into the composter!
To use the Green Cycler, you simply put the scraps from your produce and meal preparation into the top of the appliance. The window on the lid lets you see what's going on. The handle can be turned either forward or backward, and it works best to rock it back and forth until the scraps fall into the tray below.
A slightly larger issue was the suction cup feet - our counters are old, cheap formica, and it didn't hold very well. But this again wasn't a huge problem - I never had much luck with suction cups, and holding the Green Cycler still was a simple matter of putting my left arm on the top of the machine, while cranking with my right.
After chopping, scraps come out about the size of a nicely chopped salad. The tray at the bottom holds a large amount (enough to deal with a bunch of kale that got away from me), and pulls out very easily to take outside.
Both the tray and the chopper are quickly removeable to tuck into a dishwasher for quick and easy washing, and I recommend doing so as often as possible.
In addition, it's so simple to stuff scraps into it as a part of meal prep that it doesn't feel like any extra work at all.
We've used our Green Cycler every day since we got it, and I'm not even exaggerating when I say it's my favorite countertop appliance.
With all the fantastic information Green Cycler puts on their website about composting, worm farming, gardening, and why you want to keep your compostible items out of landfills, using Green Cycler has really inspired me to try to be more proactive about our compost pile. I am thinking that we may be ready to add some worms come next spring, and really start preparing the soil in our yard to handle some actual planned gardening.
I seriously cannot recommend this tool enough - it is one of those rare inventions that is a total game changer. If you don't know why you'd want to compost your scraps, think about this:
Green Cycler is available in a few different models that cost between $99.00 and $139. The one I have is the Green Cycle Garden Cycler V300, and after using it regularly, I find it to be very sturdy, easy to clean and an absolutely essential tool for our kitchen.
I am really excited to announce that Green Cycler is letting us offer the Garden Green Cycler (the same model I received) as a Giveaway for one of our readers! This Giveaway is open to Continental US residents only, and will end just before midnight on September 25, 2014.
To enter the giveaway, leave a comment in this entry as instructed by the Rafflecopter, then leave the name you commented under and your email in the box in the Rafflecopter entry. (This lets us contact you if you win!) This will open up additional optional entries to increase your odds of winning.
Good luck, everyone!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Green Cycler Website
Green Cycler on Facebook
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