Naturemill Home Composter Ryan 03 Nov 2005

20 comments Latest by Ellie

This looks like an incredible product — indoor composting with no odors and no mess. You can even compost meat and fish. Simple too — one button operation. A red light comes on when the compost is ready. It’s small enough for 1 person living alone or big enough for a family of 5. Here’s a friendly interview with the Ross Cohn, the president of the company. I love his tone, honesty, humility, and the way he talks about his product. Some good insight into the design of the product and recent improvements they’ve made based on customer feedback.

Some highlights:

Another “must have” feature we added is a food pedal to open the lid - I guess our engineers don’t do enough cooking to realize that there are never enough hands in the kitchen.
One feature I really like is that you don’t have to keep adding compost cultures, or any other feed material, as with most compost systems. The machine retains a small amount of finished compost after each load, so in a way it replenishes itself with hot, fresh compost cultures. This saves a lot of money in the long term, and is very convenient too.
The new control panel has just one button. How easy is that! There isn’t even a clock to set. I’m really tired of having to “operate” all the other devices around my house, with all these beeps and dials. This is much easier. We’ve put a lot of intelligence into the software, so you can focus on gardening and cooking instead of managing your compost pile.
It’s really quite fascinating to observe composting being made, and yet not have to do any work yourself. To me it’s a little like watching an ice cream machine. Except you really don’t want to eat this stuff.

If you have the means (and the place to put/use the compost) do the Earth a favor and pick one of these up.

20 comments (comments are closed)

Adam James 03 Nov 05

The comment about the foot step is humorous. I think they are a good idea on alot of devices, like sinks for instance. Especially in the kitchen when handling meats.

Paul D 03 Nov 05

“The new control panel has just one button. How easy is that!”

That reminds me here in Japan, certain appliances are greatly superior in usability to the ones I had experience with in Canada.

Our microwave oven, for example, is combined in a compact unit with a regular oven/broiler oven. It has this great one-button operation feature. You put in your food, push the button, and the machine *itself* figures out how long to heat your food for. I’m guessing the device measures the microwave absorption of your food or something to figure that out.

If you can design something to work with a single push of a button, you should. :)

Justin Reese 03 Nov 05

Holy corns; did you show this post to them before adding it here, Jason? Because it’s already on their press page.

Erik 04 Nov 05

I’m sorry, but I grew up in the country, and paying $399 for compost is outrageous. Whoever buys this can spend their money better elsewhere. $20 is an overstatement. I appreciate the environmentally conscious out there, but is this the most effective way to get the bang for your buck?

brad 04 Nov 05

I composted for 20 years with simple homemade containers when I lived in the country too, but now I live in the city and this is by far the best solution I’ve seen for city dwellers. There’s not enough room on our balcony for a composter, and besides I live in Montreal where outdoor compost is dormant all winter and the bin would quickly fill up. We have no basement so vermiculture isn’t a workable option. I might spring for one of these units, it’s the only practical solution I’ve seen for small apartments. My only concern when I looked at the Naturemill was the electricity use, but it only consumes 10 watts, not bad at all. As someone for whom composting was second nature, I’ve never felt comfortable throwing all this good compost material in the trash, it feels like such a waste. This looks like a great solution, thanks for the post!

Don Schenck 04 Nov 05

We have three or four compost piles going at once. Compost RULES!

Unrelated: Jason … “Scream like Dean”??? What the???

Anonymous 04 Nov 05

You know I’d love to compost, but I don’t garden. What the heck am I supposed to do with all that compost?

Russ 04 Nov 05

Hey Anonymous - give your compost away! Everybody loves compost. You must have a friend or neighbor who gardens, no? If you know any landscapers they will salivate. I have also found that the parks department in my town is always underfunded so they really appreciate free compost.

Darrel 04 Nov 05

I’ve put in my will that when I die, they should just dump me in the compost pile.

Last year 37signals recommended the Venta Airwasher Humidifier. After being fed up with the $30 ones that die each year, we forked out the $300 for one. It does work great, but this season, it kind of hit me that I paid $300 for a plastic bucket with a fan on the end.

So, this composter looks GREAT, and if you have the spare change, why not, but for now I’ll stick with my $10 black plastic bin outside and the occasional pitch-fork turning.

dusoft 04 Nov 05

Somehow, I am missing point why would one use this eletrical device to compost thus burning fossil fuels (where’s your electricity from anyway?).

So non-ecological. You always want the easy way, what do you care about ecology.

Dan Boland 04 Nov 05

I think with a little marketing (and perhaps a lowered price) they could sell a lot of these units. For a great number of people, the concept of composting is something like “a big pile of stinky garbage in the backyard.” And a lot of people are like myself, folks who are Earth-considerate, but moreso in theory than in practice if for no other reason than resources.

For instance, I can’t compost anywhere but indoors because I don’t have a yard or porch. I’d like to put solar panels on my roof, but I rent. I’d like to drive a hybrid, but I’m still paying off my Echo (at least that’s a decent tradeoff).

If people like myself could compost, we would. And this lets you do it without the hassle. Of course, having the money to buy one is a different story… :/

brad 04 Nov 05

Somehow, I am missing point why would one use this eletrical device to compost thus burning fossil fuels

it uses no more electricity than a night light.

Dan Boland 04 Nov 05

dusoft: I don’t know, 10 watts sounds like a drop in the bucket for the average home. You could make that up by actually turning off the light when you leave a room.

andrew 04 Nov 05

For those with yards, another (cheaper) option for composting kitchen waste is the Green Cone. It very efficiently breaks down food waste, and you only need to empty it once a year or so.

Jeff Martin 04 Nov 05

Keeping a box of worms and garbage in the kitchen just seems wrong to me.

brad 10 Nov 05

I ordered one of these and it arrived today. It looks good, but a few words of caution:

1. Using this is a bit more complicated than just dumping stuff into a compost bin outdoors. You have to cut items into one-inch pieces and you have to monitor your mix of green vs. brown items more closely. You can’t compost highly acidic items like lemons, grapefruit, orange, etc. because they kill the compost cultures, and there’s a fairly extensive list of other things that you have to remember to not throw in there (there’s a sticker on the cover to remind you), such as peach pits.

2. You have to “prime” the composter with a couple of cups of healthy soil each time you start a new batch. Finding good soil in the city, especially in the depths of winter, is not a trivial task.

3. Don’t order this thing if you live in Canada. With the shipping, taxes, and UPS brokerage fee you’ll end up paying well over $600 Canadian. I guess I’m looking at it as a donation for the environment….not tax deductable, but I’m going to barter with my neighbors who have gardens: I’ll give them compost and they’ll give me veggies from their gardens!

Ellie 16 Nov 05

This composter is quite a brilliant invention! I saw one in use last weekend at my cousin’s place here in Dallas. At first I didn’t know what it was because it looks just like a fancy garbage can. But when he explained it to me I almost fell over. He said it makes the best compost he has ever seen (and he is a real compost expert with piles and piles in the yard). It’s also built really solid and made in the USA like they used to do things, not the flimsy plastic stuff you see now a days. It doesn’t seem to smell at all, although apparently you have to replace the $10 air filter every year and add paper and some baking soda to balance the chemistry. A small price to pay I think.