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Compostapalooza design chosen

June 10, 2010

We have another winner! Congrats to Jim Young who created the official design for UncommonGoods’s and Quirky’s ultimate composter based on winner Gail Loos’ idea – the Scrap-Cycler.  I love how thin and streamlined this is…it looks like it could fit in with any lifestyle and be pretty easy to use. Very cool!


The Uncommon Life

Introducing: The Scrap-Cycler

June 4, 2010


After three weeks of  educating the community about composting, reviewing 94 amazing submissions and figuratively being up to our elbows in compost – the ultimate composter has finally been chosen!

Congratulations to Gail Loos, who designed this countertop kitchen scrap grinder, with removable bin and biodegradable liners. UncommonGoods, Quirky and the LES Ecology Center loved the thoughtfulness put into Gail’s design. A fun fact from Gail: “While testing my homemade prototype, I was able to reduce the volume of my kitchen waste by 80% or more! But the ultimate benefit is this: it wildly increased the speed at which kitchen scraps were converted to compost by exposing more surfaces to worms and other composting agents.”

Thanks to everyone who voted and participated in Compostapalooza…but your work is not done yet!  Before this composter goes into production, we need you to influence the final design with your opinions and feedback. Hop on over to Quirky and complete this quick and easy product research survey. Not only does your opinion really, really matter, but you will also get a small percentage of the product sales because you influenced the design!


Compostapalooza — it’s on!

May 17, 2010


It’s time to get your compost on! UncommonGoods and Quirky have officially launched Compostapalooza — the quest to create the perfect composter. So, put your thinking caps on and get to work! The contest will run from May 17-26th and more information (as well as submission forms) can be found at Quirky. Good luck and get dirty!

The Uncommon Life

A Composter’s Dilemma

May 17, 2010

In preparation for Compostapalooza, our partnership with Quirky to create the ultimate composting product, we’re running a series of compost education posts. Read up, then put those brainstorming caps on for kick-off on May 17!


I got into composting in 2008.  I had never seriously considered doing it until I read the Omnivore’s Dilemma (by Michael Pollan) earlier that year – it helped me understand the food cycle and how throwing organic material into landfill was a lousy solution.  Sanitation departments waste a lot of energy, money and land carting away food scraps that could otherwise be enriching the soil.

However, like recycling, composting is more work than just throwing something away, especially if you’re an urban dweller like me. To start with, you have to take the food waste and put it in a separate bin (no big deal).  But you also need to cut up the food waste into small pieces to help it break down faster and then put the compostable material into some vessel outdoors. We were lucky to have a few friends and neighbors that were interested in the same thing and were able to convince our building to provide us with an outdoor space to place a compost tumbler.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that our sons knew all about composting from school and were only too happy to tell daddy everything he was doing wrong, which was plenty. There was nothing they enjoyed more than catching me putting compostable material into the trash.  I then had to dig through the garbage to find the food scraps and move them to the compost bin.  I learned the messy way that tea bags, coffee grounds and egg shells were all fine for composting.


Read more about Dave’s adventures in composting!