Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Green Cycler: A Review

We've been recycling at our house for many years now. It just seems second nature when disposing of things to go to the garage and put them in the proper bin: glass, paper, aluminum, plastic. We never forget and if I'm upstairs and happen to finish a Diet Mountain Dew, I have feelings of guilt if I'm tempted to toss the can into the trash up there, so I carry it down with me and put it in its proper place.

Composting food items hasn't been ingrained in me for that long, however. It's only been in recent years that I've actively done this. And I say "I" because Romie isn't as on board with it as I am yet, but he's doing better.  For the last two years, I've kept red wiggler worms in my office and they've been happily chowing down on leftovers I feed them, giving me worm castings to feed my plants.
Sometimes I have to chop things up so they'll fit better in the worm bin and so it won't take as long for the worms to do their thing. Last year, I received a product for review that makes that job easier and less messy.

The Green Cycler is a handy little pre-composter that I simply put my leftover food items in and with a few cranks of the handle, they're sliced and diced to the perfect size for either my red wigglers or the outdoor compost bin. Smaller pieces means quicker decomposition and the sooner I'll have compost for the garden.

The Green Cycler is designed to be kept on the kitchen counter so that it's always at the ready for your compostable kitchen scraps. My kitchen is rather small and counter space is premium real estate there, so I keep it just outside the door in the kitchen that leads to the garage. But Ecotonix made the Green Cycler with the kitchen in mind.

It was super easy to assemble out of the box, and comes in several contemporary designs. Because of the cranking action required to chop your food items, they put suction cups on the bottom to secure it to the counter top.  I found these to be helpful, but I still had to hold it down on the top while cranking because the suction wasn't strong enough by itself.

Inside, there are blades that rotate and chop. When I put the first items in, which were actually not food items, but stems and flowers of a tulip bouquet I'd received a week before, the stems were a tough assignment.  But the Green Cycler is designed to handle it, in spite of the stainless steel blades not being sharp.  I simply had to run the crank in reverse and by alternating forward and reverse, it got the job done in fine style.

The Green Cycler prepared a killer Tulip Salad for the worms!

The ZeoPack controls odor in the Green Cycler.
As with any composting product, odor can be a concern. The collecting bin is small and they recommend emptying it just as soon as it's full, but until it is, there is a replaceable filter called a ZeoPack that that absorbs any odors.  I have to say I was skeptical about that, but it works! Only if I put my nose very close to the opening of the top did I detect anything and that was when the lid was open.  With it closed, I didn't notice a thing.

The  ZeoPack contains zeolite - natural crystals that absorb moisture and odors. It's non-toxic and reusable.  To "recharge" the ZeoPack, you simply hang it outside in the sun, which causes the zeolite to release the trapped moisture and odors. It's reusable for years, and when it does need replacing, you can snip off the metal grommet (used for hanging while recharging) and toss it in your compost bin, because it's biodegradable. (Ecotonix thought of everything, didn't they?)

I found the Green Cycler to be very easy to use and to clean, and considering what it does, it has a small footprint. I think kids would enjoy getting in on the act too, because they can watch the chopping through the clear lid on top

Today, the Green Cycler is making its appearance in The Grommet's Product Pitch 2014 Finals in Boston at Fenway Park. The Grommet is instrumental in bringing great new problem-solving products to light and provides help to the makers of new products they believe in. The Green Cycler was voted into the finals by people like you and me and is competing against seven other new products for a spot in The Grommet's line-up of offered products for sale.

To learn more, visit the Green Cycler website.  You can follow the festivities at Fenway today from 11:30-12:30 EDT, as it's being live-streamed here.

UPDATE:  The Green Cycler won!  It will now be offered for purchase on The Grommet.  CONGRATULATIONS!

I received the Green Cycler free of charge for the purposes of testing and review.  No further compensation was received. All opinions stated here are my own.


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