Project of the week: KALEA — fast and convenient composting for organic waste

In Hawaiian, Kaleo means ‘filled with joy’, and this is the underlying idea behind our device, which makes it easy to conveniently compost organic waste. The KALEA company was founded in Germany in 2017, with the goal of improving the environment. The project team has never been so close to making their dream come true: in the first few days of their Indiegogo campaign, the project raised €487 593 from 1000 sponsors, thus completely meeting their financial goal. It doesn’t matter where you live or how much space you have, KALEA is a relatively compact, stylish, and absolutely silent device that transforms organic waste into compost in just 48 hours.

Technologies for nature

Technologies have entered into all aspects of our everyday lives, but few people devote their attention to the way we treat food waste after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In many homes, and especially in apartment buildings, there are no safe solutions for recycling food waste. This is a serious issue for the global environment, as 50% of all global waste consists of food waste.

The KALEA team has brought together the natural composting process with a smart technology that transforms organic waste into nutrient-rich compost. Thus, KALEA is a completely automatic kitchen compost machine.

How KALEA works

KALEA is a smart device that offers similar features to a compost heap, but it works much faster. It’s also more convenient to use, hygienic, without leaving any unpleasant smells. To make this project a reality, the team has spent two full years to develop the first prototype. The final version of this device offers flexible control through a mobile app, which also provides additional information about the environment, gardening in the city, advice on using compost and the ‘green lifestyle’.

Plants are living creatures. Just like human beings, they need nutrients to grow and maintain their health. Compost is used for these purposes, however many existing means of recycling organic waste simply dry and crush waste without any biological decomposition. In some cases, this use of dried organic waste might lead to mould or slow down plant growth. On the other hand, KALEA compost is so rich in nutrients that it can be mixed at a ratio of 1:10.

KALEA creates quality organic fertilizer out of waste, in just two days and three easy steps:

  1. Fill your KALEA with food waste – you can use leftover fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, dairy products, and cooked meals. KALEA has the capacity to process the weekly volume of organic waste created by a family of four (around 2 cycles, at 10 litres each). This reliable system crushes and dries almost anything, even nutshells and small bones, reducing the final compost volume by 85% from the original mass of the waste. When a sufficient amount of organic material is added to the machine, KALEA automatically sends it to the compost chamber. No bad smells or fruit flies.
  2. The KALEA compost chamber is filled with sensors and equipped with an intelligent control system. It offers the perfect combination of temperature, humidity, and aeration to stimulate the activity of natural microorganisms inside the organic waste, speeding up their metabolism. Thus, KALEA significantly reduces composting time from several months to 48 hours.
  3. As an output, the user gets a finished compost that works for all plants and flowers, both at home and outside. The compost contains the full range of all nutrients needed for plants, and you don’t have to use it right away – the KALEA compost can be stored for up to two years.

KALEA is an excellent solution for those who are tired of taking out the trash, fighting fruit flies and rotting food remains, and also those who are interested in gardening, but don’t have a convenient at-home compost service, and those who think that regular compost methods take too much time.

Why composting is important

Garden composting is the most natural method of discarding organic waste you can think of. KALEA transforms most compounds in food waste into fresh compost, which can be mixed with earth to instantly add strength to your plants and enrich them with nutrients.

In many ways, organic waste is similar to boxes of vitamins. To ensure that plants can consume these vitamins, you have to unpack these boxes first. The unpacking process is called remineralization, and during this time the organic molecules transform into inorganic minerals. The transformation is done with omnipresent microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria, which make up a natural part of our food.

During the composting process, most components of organic waste (sugars, starches, proteins, fats, and, at a later stage, cellulose) are broken down. And the quality of the compost and the timeframe for its transformation can be altered by establishing optimal metabolic conditions for microorganisms for a certain period of time. These conditions include a specific temperature, pH level, humidity, oxygen amount, and surface area. When these conditions are optimal, the speed for obtaining a high-quality compost is faster.

Another problem that KALEA helps to solve is a reduction of irreparable daily damage that people cause the planet. Incorrect recycling for organic waste is not only a wasted resource, but a climate hazard as serious as CO2.

When organic waste is dropped at a landfill, due to lack of oxygen they become vulnerable to anaerobic degradation and emit methane. Methane is a highly potent greenhouse gas which is approximately 28 times more harmful than carbon dioxide. Due to a lack of clean and convenient methods for recycling organic waste, it is sent to landfills even in the most developed countries.

The KALEA team has created a long-lasting product that brings together the modern person’s high-tech lifestyle with a convenient design and eco-friendly purpose. KALEA not only solves problems for separate households, but for the entire planet at large.

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