Industrial design was born in the 20th century, and the approach has been "Design a product that solves a problem."
The 21st century approach: "Design a system that solves a problem."
A startup called Mill is taking the 21st century approach to solve the problem of food waste. Their eponymous product, which looks like a waste bin, is in fact part of a system that turns food waste back into food.
I live on a farm. Most of us don't. On a farm with chickens, you generate zero food waste. Anything not eaten is thrown to the chickens, who eat it all and use that nutrition to produce eggs, which we then eat. But because the bulk of Americans do not live on land with chickens, they cannot participate in this convenient system.
Mill's product changes that. Food waste* goes into the bin, where its internal mechanism grinds and dries it over time. A replaceable filter made with coconut husks and charcoal filters odors. You can continue adding food waste to the bin over time, and the company says it will continue to break it down into grounds.
*What Mill can take: Fruits, vegetables, rinds, pits, peels, meat, fish, dairy, small bones, eggshells, plate scrapings.
What Mill can't take: Large bones from beef/pork/lamb, seafood shells, large amounts of liquid/grease/oils, large amounts of sugar/cake/cookies, compostable plastics/packaging/takeout containers, houseplants, flowers, and of course you shouldn't throw medicine into it.
You can then use prepaid shipping boxes provided by the company to send these grounds to them. They then further process the grounds into, you guessed it, chicken feed that they distribute (where and to whom is not clear; presumably they sell it to commercial farms).
To participate in this system requires a subscription; the bins are not sold individually. You can either opt for a $396 annual membership, or $45 monthly plus $75 for the bin. Both memberships include the shipping boxes with prepaid labels, replacement filters and customer support. You can learn more here.
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