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Everything about the FoodCycler you want to know, answered here!

I’ve gotten so many inquiries and questions about the newest addition to our kitchen, the FoodCycler.

The FoodCycler is essentially a mini indoor composting machine. It turns organic food waste into a soil amendment (or as I refer to it, dirt). That means less food waste leaving your home and hitting local landfills. Yay!

Composting is an amazing option for naturally decomposing waste and creating nutrient rich soil. 

That being said, it can be a little intimidating, time consuming, and restrictive based on your living situation.

The reason I was originally drawn to the FoodCycler is that it was a simple “clean” way to get rid of food scraps and get started with composting. That is, without having to carry food scraps outside in the dead of the midwest winter.

However, after using it, I realize the FoodCycler composting machine is actually an amazing option for all sorts of people.

Keep reading to hear my honest opinion on the FoodCycler indoor composting machine, or check out the FoodCycler Review Video instead.

FoodCycler Composting Machine: Everything You Need to Know

Like I already mentioned, the FoodCycler is a small kitchen appliance that breaks down organic food matter into a soil amendment.

A lot of people organic waste (ie. extra food from your home) will decompose when thrown in the garbage. Unfortunately that’s not the case at all.

Most landfills are anaerobic environments. This means they have no oxygen and organic materials are not able to decompose. Actually the opposite is true. Organic material dumped in landfills is actually incredibly dangerous because it releases greenhouse gasses like methane into the atmosphere.

How the heck does that happen?

Here is the process broken down:

  1. A bunch of garbage is dumped into a landfill.
  2. A machine presses down and compacts that garbage.
  3. An anaerobic environment is created and materials can’t naturally decompose, or they decompose incredibly slowly.
  4. This non-decomposing or slowly decomposing organic matter releases methane throughout the process and is essentially mummified for decades.

In fact, some experts estimate that if food was a country, it would be the third largest emitter of methane, only behind the United States and 

As you can imagine, the less organic matter, ie. food waste, we can put into the landfills the better.

But how to get rid of it?

The easier way is to buy less, meal plan, and get creative about using leftovers.

It’s estimated that we throw out 40% of the food we buy on a weekly basis. It sure is a shame that so much of the food waste that’s hurting our environment was purchased just to be thrown away.

Planning more carefully when it comes to food is better for the environment, AND your budget too.

But, we can’t be perfect. This we know.

So we head to composting.

Benefits of Composting

The benefits of composting are simple, but powerful:

  • Reduces landfill waste
  • Naturally recycles kitchen and yard waste
  • Good for the environment
  • Adds nutrients into the soil
  • Introduces valuable organisms into the soil

Not only does composting get rid of extra organic and other waste you would otherwise be throwing in the trash, you can repurpose the result to help make your yard and plants happy.

Those are just a few reasons why you need an indoor composter in 2020, the list goes on!

It’s an eco win, win.

How Does the FoodCycler Indoor Composting Machine Work?

I’m not going to lie, it was insanely easy to setup and use the FoodCycler.

I was a little concerned about setup. It seemed like it would be some complex machine, but boy was I wrong.

The total setup time took me about four minutes. And I was going slow to make sure I didn’t miss anything crucial.

Basically it just involves taking off the back panel, putting on the filters, and then removing some stickers from the unit.

After you’re setup and plugged in you are ready to go!

Using the FoodCycler indoor composters is about as simple as this:

  1. Open unit by unlocking the top.
  2. Dump a mixture of food scraps into the bucket (following food guidelines)
  3. Close unit by locking the top back on.
  4. Press the “Start” button

I have not timed a FoodCycler cycler at my house (I usually turn it on at night before bed) but the company reports it takes around 3 hours. That can differ depending on what you’ve put inside.

FoodCycler Energy Efficiency

In terms of electricity, the FoodCycler is pretty efficient. The FoodCycler indoor composter uses less than a small microwave oven. It also has sensory technology to ensure energy is used as minimally and efficiently as possible.

I’ve also seen other uses recommend unplugging the unit when not in use to avoid any energy waste.

food cycler honest review indoor composting soil amendment

FoodCycler Indoor Composter Food Guidelines

There are some rules about what you can put in your FoodCycler, and they are slightly different than a traditional outdoor compost.

The biggest thing I noticed was that you can only put in food. The FoodCycler indoor composter does NOT compost things like cardboards or compostable packaging. This was a slight bummer for me but having the unit overall has been such a win that I’ve decided to let it go.

What can you put in your FoodCycler composting machine?

  • Meat, fish, shellfish, poultry
  • Most fruit and vegetables
  • Cereals and other grains
  • Cheeses
  • Beans, seeds, legumes
  • Chicken and fish bones
  • Coffee grounds, filters, tea bags
  • Eggs and eggshells
  • Pet food

What do you need to avoid adding to your FoodCycler?

  • Hard bones (think beef and pig bones)
  • Candy or gum
  • Cooking oils and greases
  • Hard pits (think peaches, apricots and nectarines)
  • Nuts and other hard shells
  • Pineapple leaves

There are also some foods that you CAN put in the FoodCycler but need to be in limited quantities:

  • Cake, rice, pasta and other starches
  • High sugar fruits (grapes, bananas, melon, oranges, pineapple)
  • Sauces
  • Jams and jellies
  • Peanut butter and fatty food waste

If you go ahead and process large amounts of these foods without mixing other approved foods in you run the risk of damaging your FoodCycler composting machine. These particular foods have a higher chance of sticking to the bottom and not processing entirely.

However, if you mess up and forget and get a less than optimal product, you can also add other food in and run it again.

FoodCycler Indoor Composting Tips

There are several tips and guidelines that will help produce better results in addition to the types of food you add.

1.  Always use a mixture of foods. 

The better the mix the better the soil amendment result.

2.  Follow the food guidelines listed above.

3.  Periodically rinse out and clean your bucket.

It’s nonstick interior makes this super easy to do. Plus it’s dishwasher safe

4.  Cut up foods into smaller pieces before adding them to the FoodCycler

FoodCycler especially recommends cutting up foods like corn cobs, corn husks, parsley, asparagus and celery that may be harder to process.

5.  Take note of what your soil looks like after each load.

You should quickly get a better idea of how much of a mix you need, and what foods work better than others. For example, my bananas peels still compost, but they do add a larger chunk of item to the dirt versus a smooth texture. When I run that particular food the end result looks more like potpourri.

6.  Don’t panic about different textured results. 

I’ve done quite a few FoodCycler cycles and rarely had the same looking soil amendment. I’ve had a range of brown colors and texture. It depends on what you put in! FoodCycler says that fish and cooked vegetables appear as a powder form, uncooked veggies appear more like a small cereal-like, and cake, rice, and starchers will have a thicker, chunkier texture.

7.  Make sure you actually start it!

When I “ran” my first load I pressed start and didn’t realize it never started, for some reason I have to press start twice. When you see the green light you know you’re in business!

8.  Avoid leaving food scraps in the FoodCycler for too long before running. 

This may cause an unpleasant smell, or attract extra friends like fruit flies. The process SHOULDN’T smell at all.

9.  Always let the FoodCycler complete it’s cool down cycle.

Temperatures can get really hot as the FoodCycler composting machine is doing it’s thing. So make sure it fully cools down before you attempt to handle the bucket.

Still curious? Learn all about electric composters and how they work.

Who Would Love a FoodCycler?

Anyone who is interested in composting and isn’t quite ready to dive into a full outdoor compost, or worm composting, would love this easy alternative.

I especially think the FoodCycler indoor composter is a great option for:

  • People who live in apartments or small spaces
  • People who are in urban areas and cannot outdoor compost
  • People who don’t have the time to devote to learning traditional composting
  • People who are squeamish about food waste or smells
  • People who are scared to have worms living in their home
  • People with pets who may break into a traditional or worm compost and make a mess
  • People who care about the environment and want to make a difference!

So far we are loving our FoodCycler as a really simple indoor alternative to composting. Watch our full review video to see it in action!

Want more eco friendly tips for your home?

Check out our zero waste series: