BY: JESSICA BEUKER
For the city-dweller, composting can be an absolute pain in the ass. For example, I live in a townhouse in downtown Toronto, and I do not have a yard. My building only provides us with a communal garbage chute in between the units, and one communal recycling bin—and even choosing to use that is a mission, as it’s inconveniently located underground where the parking garage is. Since we aren’t allowed to keep any bins on our balcony, composting is not really an option for me. But a new innovation could help make the green bin initiative easier for urbanites.
An Israel-based startup company recently developed a home-sized biogas unit that converts organic waste into gas and fertilizer. The HomeBiogas can take up to six litres per day of any food waste, including meat and dairy, which are not recommended for regular home composting. Alternatively, it can take up to 15 litres per day of animal manure, including pet waste, which is also not recommended for home composting.
The waste is turned into fuel, which can be used to cook several meals per day, providing about two to four hours of cooking time. At the exact same time it produces five to eight litres of organic liquid fertilizer every single day.
According to TreeHugger, the HomeBiogas can help homes eliminate one tonne of organic waste each year and avoid generating six tonnes of CO2 annually.
The unit is simple to operate and requires minimal annual maintenance. It is delivered in a box and is easy to assemble. Right now the project is undergoing a crowdfunding campaign to get the HomeBiogas unit into full production. Currently, backers can pledge $890 and they will receive one of the units. It’s a good deal considering that after the campaign is over, the price will go up to $1,500.
The unit is small enough to fit into a backyard or greenhouse, and weighs less than 88lbs, making it fairly easy to move. According to TreeHugger, many biogas initiatives are directed towards the developing world. This project, however, aims to bring green and renewable energy into the suburban market—and to homes that otherwise might not have access to it.
The HomeBiogas would be the perfect solution to my composting gap. The units are so small that they could easily be placed outside of buildings, or in between townhouse complexes, as they don’t take up a lot of space. If utilized, they could really make a difference in the amount of waste that the city produces.