Mind & Matter


Accelerated Composting Could Cure Our Waste Problem

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The Muncher rapid organic waste composter, by Ecologico-Logic.


One of the most wasteful modern practices is the treatment of waste itself. Many municipalities within the developed world mix sanitary waste with rainwater runoff that collects in storm sewers, generating a massive amount of effluent that must be filtered and treated in a centralized fashion. A more practical strategy would be to treat sanitary waste closer to its source, in a distributed fashion, without mixing it with stormwater and snow melt.

A Nevada based company called Ecologico-Logic may have the solution to this need. Its “Muncher” is a prototype system that accelerates the process of composting, which can take up to a year with standard approaches. The Muncher utilizes aerobic microbes and a specially formulated chemical treatment to convert organic waste into usable soil in under an hour. Moreover, the company claims that the system releases no harmful gases or chemical compounds, and eliminates toxins during the composting process.

Ecologico-Logic plans to offer industrial-scale Munchers capable of processing 50 tons of sanitary waste per day, in addition to smaller systems that could be used by small businesses or individual homes. Given the benefits of this kind of system—not to mention its elimination of garbage collection and landfill tipping fees—it seems likely that future buildings will incorporate this kind of technology as a standard design practice.




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About the Blogger

Blaine Brownell

thumbnail image Minnesota-based architect and author Blaine Brownell, AIA, is a self-defined materials researcher and sustainable building adviser. His "Product of the Week" emails and three volumes of Transmaterial (2006, 2008, 2010) provide designers with a steady flow of inspiration—a 21st-century Grammar of Ornament. Blaine has practiced architecture in Japan and the U.S. and has been published in more than 40 design, business, and science publications. The recipient of a Fulbright fellowship for 2006–07, he researched contemporary Japanese material innovations at the Tokyo University of Science. He currently teaches architecture and co-directs the M.S. in Sustainable Design program at the University of Minnesota. His book Matter in the Floating World was published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2011.