About this project
Are you tired of cleaning dirty compost bins? So are we.
Nothing is worse than changing your compost bag and having it drip over the floor on the way to the outside container. Futhermore, the prospect of rinsing the compost container before the next use is especially disgusting given the fact it doesn't even fit in most sinks. The number of times that organic waste is thrown into the garbage to avoid these tasks is too many to count. In our experience, we would almost rather throw the container out than face the nauseating task of disposing the bag and cleaning the container. This is where the greenlid idea was born.
Why not have a container that eliminates all these tasks and make the container itself be completely compostable while simultaneously adding to compost quality in the process?
This project has two parts: including a fully Compostable Container (1) and a reusable, dishwasher friendly Lid (2) to conceal the organic contents.
Did you know?
No Mess, Easy Composting!
1) The First Fully Compostable Organic Waste Container.
We first set out investigating new materials and technologies that meet several criteria. The container needed to be: 1) compostable 2) environmentally friendly 3) water resistant and 4) inexpensive
It didn't start out as a pulp moulded compostable container but in fact it began with a chemical biologist and an industrial designers idea that there must be a cleaner, greener way to do household composting. From the first discovery of a corn based water resistant coating called PLA (polylactic acid) used for compostable coffee cups we worked with designers and manufactures to create a box that could hold organic waste but be completely compostable. The box was the beginning- but we soon realized by having corners the containers had weak spots, which lead to leaking. Taking a cue from pre-existing food containers the next concept was manufactured in the same way as a standard KFC bucket. The lid was then designed to compliment the white glossy PLA coated container, while still providing a minimalist approach in its homage to a retro garbage can lid.
As we proceeded in our research, we realized we had the opportunity to create a product that could have even less of an environmental impact and in its design be completely moulded from end of life recycled pulp paper.
This manufacturing technique went through many iterations of design and testing using several materials before settling on moulded pulp paper as the material that best met all of the criteria. Pulp moulded technologies are now advancing and beginning to replace many items that are traditionally made in plastic or styrofoam (take-out containers, meat trays) due to their increased strength, especially when exposed to water or moisture. The most common use for pulp is in packaging and is the material that many egg trays are made out of that can be purchased in the supermarket. These type of moulded pulp products are very environmentally friendly and are made from 100% post-consumer paper, in fact we will use end-of-life recycled paper that can no longer be used for any other purpose.
Pulp products are currently accepted in all organic waste programs and are completely compostable in home compost piles. The addition of pulp fibre can even improve the quality of compost that is generated. It is well known that organic waste should be mixed with fibrous material to help with the breakdown process and improve the quality.
Working alongside our manufacturer, we are creating a formulation that can both withstand wet organic waste and be eco-friendly. We have actually even gone one step further and are adding natural minerals that are beneficial to compost and soil. This will make The Greenlid a perfect addition to any compost pile (municipal or home).
The funds we raise in this Kickstarter will allow us to purchase our moulds for large scale production, which are quite large and robust and provide enough funds for minimum order quantities to get The Greenlid to Canada.
2) The Greenlid
Another major problem with current organic waste containers is their inability to be washed easily due to their size. By having just a lid that is dishwasher safe, we have made it easier to clean if it ever becomes dirty through use.
We worked with local Canadian designers and manufacturers to create our first prototypes of the greenlid. We are using recyclable materials that can absorb the smells often associated with organic waste and are completely dishwasher safe. See our design process below! Prototypes are finished for the lids (as shown in video), but final sizing, and design will vary slightly to ensure the best fit to trap all unwanted smells within the container.
The funds we raise with this kickstarter will help us purchase the final moulds for the lid and meet minimum order requirements with our Canadian Manufacturer.
Risks and challenges
After our project is funded, we will be able to complete prototype testing to ensure our recycled pulp containers won't leak any wet organic waste. We have already identified natural materials that will be used as water-resistant agents and have exceeded our quality control goals, but we will continue to evaluate the best mix for household use and compost quality.
Once testing is complete, we will have the final container moulds manufactured and begin production that will see everyone's reward produced within 60 days.
We will also be carrying out additional experiments to scientifically prove that the greenlid containers actually increase the quality of compost using several industry standard tests and plant growth experiments.
Another challenge will be the shipping of rewards because the greenlid containers, although stackable, are not ideal for standard delivery methods, which ultimately has forced our reward levels to be higher in some cases in order for the project to be a success.
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