Want to stop sending food waste to the landfill?
A new device and service from a company called Mill will help you do just that while also letting you feed a chicken or two while you’re at it.
Debuting today, the Mill kitchen bin, a new eponymous device from a company founded by a couple of ex-Nest execs, will take your food waste and shrink & “de-stink” it as it turns into what it calls Food Grounds, something the company says is a “safe and nutritious chicken feed ingredient.”
Here’s how it works:
You sign up for a Mill “Membership,” a $33-a-month subscription service that includes a kitchen bin and a pickup service for the processed Food Grounds. You connect the Mill to Wi-Fi, activate it using the Mill app, and start tossing in your food scraps. Once the bin is full, you put your Food Grounds into a prepaid box and schedule a pickup with the Mill app.
While it’s tempting to call the kitchen bin one of a new cohort of smart food composters, Mill wants you to know that its box is definitely not a composter. The Food Grounds “aren’t compost,” says Mill, because instead of having the food sit and get eaten by microbes, it’s processed into an edible chicken feed ingredient they say can be put back into the food system.
Still, aside from the chicken feed system, the Mill isn’t that different from some of the other composters we’ve written about. Like the Lomi and the Kalea, the machine accelerates the shrinking and drying of the food into something other than the original food waste you dropped into the container.
The framing of the Mill is primarily about sustainability and reducing food waste, and it’s a positioning that makes sense. If we’re going to throw food out, it’s better to have those scraps turned into something that can feed chickens or your local garden than end up in a landfill.
That said, the optimal solution for food is not to have it end up as food waste at all, but instead, have it eaten by humans. That’s why I’m hoping the Mill team’s next product will be something that helps us preserve food from entering a waste bin altogether.
For those interested, Mill is taking reservations now and plans to ship the kitchen bin this spring.