What CAN the FoodCycler™ process?
-Most fruit and vegetable scraps
-Meat, shellfish, and poultry scraps
-Beans, seeds, and legumes
-Chicken and fish bones/shells
-Coffee grounds, filters, and tea bags
-Eggs and eggshells
What CAN'T the FoodCycler™ process?
-Hard, dense bones (beef, pork, lamb and bison)
-Candy or gum
-Cooking oils and greases
-Hard pits (peaches, apricots, nectarines)
-Nuts and other hard shells
In limited quantities?
-high sugar fruits (grapes, bananas, melon, oranges and pineapple)
Cut up prior to cycling:
*Be sure to mix these items with other, recommended food wastes, particularly egg shells, coffee grinds and/or citrus peels. If the items listed above are cycled without proper mixing, cutting and variety, the items may not process entirely, or your by-product could stick to the bottom and sides of the bucket.
How much electricity does the unit consume?
Each cycle consumes less than 1 kWh (approximately 0.8 kWh) - this is roughly equivalent to having a desktop computer running for the same amount of time as the cycle. Dependent on where you live, each cycle should not cost you more than a couple of cents.
The FoodCycler™ has built-in sensor technology that monitors the dryness and humidity of the food waste. Once complete, the unit will stop the cycle automatically.
How much food waste can the unit cycle at one time?
The unit has a 2.5 liter bucket capacity. We recommend keeping the contents below the indicator line level to avoid jams.
How long does the FoodCycler™ cycle last?
A typical cycle takes between 4-8 hours (with an average of 5 hours) for the food waste to become completely dehydrated and processed. This time depends on the amount of food waste being processed, the density of the food wastes and the moisture levels contained in each. Please note that these estimates exclude the unit's cooling time which lasts less than a half hour on average.
Can the FoodCycler™ process bones?
Yes, the unit can process fish, chicken, and other small bones. However, the unit cannot process beef, pork, and other large bones. Large bones and pits can cause jams or damage the bucket's grinding gears.
What are the 3 stages of the Cycle - Drying, Grinding, Cooling?
The Drying phase is focused on removing moisture from your food waste. The blade turns less frequently during this part of the cycle.
The Grinding phase continues the drying process to remove any remaining moisture. The blade turns more frequently during this part of the cycle.
The Cooling phase is a safety measure, to return the processed food waste to near-room temperature, making it safe to handle. Power usage is minimal during the Cooling phase.
*PLEASE DO NOT SKIP THE COOLING CYCLE. It is for your safety and for the safe handling of your FoodCycler™ and grinding bucket.
Can I add food waste to the FoodCycler™ once I've already started a cycle?
You can, but it is not recommended. Adding additional food waste to the unit during the cycle slows the dehydration and grinding process. Further, the unit will restart the cycle, which could add to your overall cycle time, depending on when you interrupted it.
However, if you do add food waste mid-cycle, the unit has humidity sensors that will take into account the food waste that was already being processed, meaning that it won't take nearly as long as the first "round". The food added later may not be properly ground up at the end of the cycle.
Can I open the lid on the FoodCycler™ during the process to see what's going on?
No. The lid should be kept locked once you've pressed Start to prevent the cycle from being prematurely or improperly finished, or from lasting longer than usual. Further, the unit will beep and stop cycling when the lid is unlocked.
The food waste and bucket get very hot during the process so it is strongly recommended to keep the lid shut.
Can I empty the bucket as soon as soon as the unit finishes its cycle?
Once the unit beeps and/or shuts off following a cycle, the bucket is safe to handle - though may still be quite warm. Please exercise caution when handling the bucket directly after a cycle.
Why is my FoodCycler™ emitting odor?
The unit could be emitting an odor for a variety of reasons.
The carbon filters are required to ensure a near-odorless cycle. They last approximately 500 cycle hours, or 3-4 months with regular use. Even if the Replace Filter light has not gone on yet, you may need to switch out your filters. Similarly, you can continue cycling even if the Filter light as gone on.
Filter life is determined by the moisture quantity in the food waste, and the natural odorosness of each cycle. If you are cycling rotten, smelly or potent food wastes (such as rotten meat, or old cheese) your filters may not last as long as if you were cycling simple veggie scraps and coffee grounds.
Another consideration, is that you may not have removed the filter stickers on the tops of the filters which are attached post-production to limit carbon spillage. Make sure your filter stickers are removed prior to using the FoodCycler™.
How can I clean my FoodCycler™ grinding bucket?
The removeable grinding bucket is dishwasher-safe. However, you don't really need to clean it at all! If the bucket is not jammed with processed food waste, you can simply continue to add food waste to the bucket and cycle as usual. Any residue stuck to the bucket is almost always a cosmetic issue, and caused by the oil/grease or moisture content of the unit cycle.
For an all-natural clean, try cycling citrus peels by themeslves! This will also help to eliminate any trapped odors in the unit's ventilation system.
If dried food waste is stuck to the bucket, soak in warm soapy water to remove.
What happens to the methane gases during the cycle?
Methane gas is emitted during the decomposition process of organic materials in an anaerobic ("no air") environment. Methane is 30 times more insulative of atmospheric heat than CO2, and is therefore a huge contributing force to global climate change. Since the FoodCycler™ aerates the food waste while heating and pulverizing (an aerobic environment), those environmentally damaging methane gases are not produced at all.
What are the specifications?
Dimensions: (W)12.6 " x (H) 14.2 " x (L) 13 "
Weight: (In box) 24 lbs, (out of box) 19 lbs
How long do the filters last?
The carbon filters last between 3-4 months with regular use, or 500 cycle hours. The life expectancy of the carbon filters is determined by the moisture content of the food waste, and the natural odorosness of the food waste. Denser, wetter and smellier food wastes will go through filters much faster than simple veggie scraps and egg shells.
How can I store my by-product during the winter?
Your by-product can be stored after your cycle in an open-air container for a period of one week. After this one-week period, you can store the by-product for up to a year in a closed-top container, if preferred.
Can I run my FoodCycler™ in the garage?
Yes you can! Please be aware that, like most appliances, the FoodCycler™ is not intended to function in below-freezing temperatures. The FoodCycler™ must be in a closed, dry environment where there is no risk of it being rained on or otherwise subjected to the elements.
Can I recycle my filters/bucket?
Yes you can! The filters are made of PP5 plastic and can be recycled after use in most townships/municipalities. In order for the filters to be accepted by your recycling processing provider, the carbon inside the filters must be cleaned out completely. To do this, carefully prise off the top of the filters and empty the carbon into either your garbage or garden (the material is actually a wonderful additive to your soil!), then rinse the inside of the filters.
Buckets can be recycled through your local metal scrap collection service.
What's the difference between the FC-30 and the Vitamix FC-50?
The Vitamix FC-50 uses the same technology as the existing FC-30, but includes several notable upgrades:
- A 3-year full warranty backed by Vitamix including 2-way shipping
- An included deodorizing bucket lid for easy odorless storage in your kitchen
- A new Vitamix-branded color scheme for a more modern aesthetic
What do I do if my FoodCycler is malfunctioning?
Prior to seeking customer support, we recommend that customers try a few troubleshooting steps on their own:
Manual Reset (manually shutting down the unit to reset to its original program settings)
1. Ensure that the unit is plugged in.
2. Press and hold the Start/Power button for three seconds, or until you hear a beep. The unit should shut off if it was “on”.
3. Unplug the unit and wait one minute.
4. Plug the unit back in and wait ten seconds.
5. Press Start/Power once, as you normally would to start a cycle.
6. You’re done! If the unit is still malfunctioning in some way, please contact FoodCycler’s
Customer Support Team.
Why isn't my by-product in powder form?
The form taken by the by-product at the end of the cycle depends entirely on the fiber content of the pre-cycle food waste. Fish or cooked veggies, for example, should appear in powder form, however certain uncooked vegetables may appear in cereal form. Cake, rice, other starches and certain dense/fibrous items will have a thicker, chunkier texture.
Can my dog/cat eat the by-product?
We do NOT recommend feeding your by-product to your pets, as the by-product has not been tested in any of its forms as pet food or animal food supplement. While the by-product has been broken down and sterilized by the cycle, the pulverized and dehydrated food bits still contain components of the pre-cycled food waste. Therefore, if there is anything in the cycle that could be harmful to pets (such as chocolate, or sharp bits of chicken bone), this could be harmful or even lethal to your pets. Remember: what goes in is what comes out.
FoodCycler™ has not yet tested our by-product for pet use, so we do not recommend feeding it to pets.
How do I use the by-product in my garden?
To make the absolute most of your homemade fertilizer, we recommend letting the by-product sit in an open-air container following the cycle to allow any remaining moisture to evaporate for a period of at least 1 week.
Once you're ready to incorporate the by-product in your garden, we recommend mixing the latter in with your garden soil at a ratio of 1 part "foodilizer" to 10-15 parts soil, as the by-product is extremely rich in nitrogen. Too much nitrogen can harm roots and impact the healthy growth of plants.
Ensure to mix in well below the soil surface, as any by-product that has been exposed to moisture will begin to rehydrate and may emit odor or attract pests.
Once the by-product has been mixed into the soil, we recommend a "curing" period of up to four weeks before planting seeds. This is not mandatory, however it will produce the absolute best results. The by-product must combine with the natural microbiome of your garden soil in order to regenerate lost bacteria. This curing period will allow the by-product to continue to decompose naturally in the soil, making it a natural, nutrient-rich environment for your plants.
What is the by-product, exactly?
The FoodCycler™ by-product is an all-natural soil amendment. This means that the food waste that you have dehydrated and pulverized with the FoodCycler™ is both safe and beneficial for gardening applications.
It is a particulate organic material with an NPK of 4-1-1 (Note: This is an average value and can vary depending on what is processed), and is therefore excellent for providing nitrogen to your plants. Just like with synthetic fertilizers, too much of a good thing can actually damage your plant roots and cause nitrogen "burn". Please read the "How do I use the by-product in my garden?" section for instructions.
Something else to keep in mind: the healthier the food waste you are cycling, the healthier your plants will be. Foods high in sodium, saturated fats, greases and sugars can do more damage than good. Food waste from vegetables (especially organic veggies), fruits, grains and proteins will produce the best soil amendment.
Why is my by-product molding on my potted plants?
This is completely normal. Saprophytic fungi, which produce a thin, whispy white mold, are a natural part of the decomposition process. They simply indicate that there is organic matter decaying in your soil - which, of course, there is! Your by-product is not complete as a soil amendment until it has completely combined with your soil and begun to decompose, releasing crucial nutrients into its soil environment. This process can product mold, especially if the "foodilizer" is applied to surface areas. Always mix in the by-product with your soil thoroughly, with a ratio of 1:10. To eliminate the mold, try a small sprinkling of cinnamon when mixing your by-product in with your soil - cinnamon is naturally anti-fungal and anti-bacterial and will not harm your plants.
Can I add the by-product to my vermicompost bin?
FoodCycler by-product can, in theory, be added to your vermicompost bin. However, there are certain conditions: just as you would not add food that is high in sodium, sugars or fats directly to your worm bin, so you wouldn’t want to add similar food wastes to the bin even if that food waste has been processed by the FoodCycler first. For example: while the FoodCycler can handle meats, dairy and even processed food, worms should not have too much of these items as they can be harmful to them/invite pests.
We recommend following your regular feeding style and routine with your wiggly friends, perhaps adding (diet-restrictive) soil amendment in small amounts at first, to see whether or not the worms are interested in the dehydrated material. We have not done tests in this capacity, therefore all of the above is theoretical, based on our knowledge of the product and its by-product.
As with anything involving animals, we always recommend caution, as the FoodCycler is intended to reduce food waste first and foremost.