Archive for the ‘Green Cone Composters’ Category

This article appeared in The Record May 1, 2010

Green cones will soon be gobbling up organics at 20 sites around the Royal City.

Green cones are a food waste digester system that’s currently being used by the Glenbrook North Zero Waste Challenge pilot project. As part of that initiative, a representative from the organization that distributes the green cones locally demonstrated the units to some employees at the city’s works yard.

“We thought it was interesting to give it a shot, try it out and see how it works,” said Kristian Davis, the city’s supervisor of solid waste and recycling.

Coun. Bill Harper had learned about the green cones at the Union of B.C. Municipalities Convention and felt it was something council should hear about, as it may have citywide implications.

“I thought this is like a revolution of composting organic waste,” he said. “You can put in chicken, cooked food, paper napkins.”

It’s estimated that food waste accounts for up to 30 per cent of residential garbage that ends up in landfills. The city believes green cones may provide an alternative way of dealing with food waste, by breaking these materials down in a safe way.

“It’s a food waste digester. It is not a composter,” Davis said. “It is being digested into the ground.”

Using solar heat, the contents are broken down into nutrient-rich water that drains into the soil around the green cone unit. The product that’s drained into the ground is safe.

“It’s all food that you have in your kitchen,” Davis pointed out. “It would accept anything from pasta, meat, bones, dairy.”

A staff report notes that the green cone is being used worldwide, including places like England, Norway, Sweden, Finland and the United States. More and more Metro Vancouver communities are considering them as a way of reducing the waste going to the landfill.

“The green cones have been around for more than 20 years,” Davis said. “It hasn’t really caught on here. In Europe, people, their attitudes are a bit different over there. They realized years ago there was an issue, we are going to just be coming to that point now that there is a need to dispose of our food waste.”

Staff at the city’s works yard are excited about putting the green cone to use and seeing how it works. All totalled, the city has purchased 20 green cones that will be used to determine whether more should be purchased.

“These green cones are meant for a family of about four to five,” Davis said. “They are basically on trial purposes.”

According to Davis, the green cones retail for about $140. It’s believed the city could purchase them for about $100 and subsidize the cost, a process that’s been done in the past with composters and rain barrels.

“They are supposed to be able to be used all year round,” Davis said about the green cones. “They do work with solar energy. It would be best located in a sunny area of the garden. They do work well in winter time.”

Because heat speeds up the degradation process, the green cones should be placed in the sunniest place in the yard.

“It is so warm (inside) that in the middle of winter, snow will melt on it,” Harper noted.

To install the green cone, a hole is dug in the ground, and the “digestion chamber” basket is buried below ground level.

“They don’t ever fill up is what I’ve been told,” Davis said. “They are constantly under this degradation process.”

A staff report notes that raccoons, coyotes and other animals are unable to tip over the green cones because they’re partially buried in the ground.

Because a hole is dug into the ground and the exterior has no ventilation, Davis said all smells from the food products are contained.

“The one downside is flies,” he said of a pest that can be treated. “That is inside the cone. There are sprays that don’t harm the bacteria.”

Harper believes the green cones could be helpful in reducing the amount of organic waste going to landfills.

“If you could get organics out of your garbage, that is a huge reduction in tipping fees,” he said.

If the pilot project has positive results, Harper would like to see the green cones offered to residents at a subsidized rate.

“We do the subsidized program now for regular composters,” he noted. “We want to see that they work, the way they work.”

Although commercial operators in the city don’t have recycling services, Harper believes the green cones could have implications for restaurants. “Just think about how much organic (waste) is thrown out at a restaurant.”



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An earth-friendly companion to the backyard composter, the Green Cone System is a smart, easy-to-use, efficient household tool, reducing waste and eliminating the problem of food disposal. It’s a clean, healthy way to minimize your family’s kitchen trash while helping the environment.

The one-of-a-kind kitchen waste eliminator

You already recycle. You may even already compost your garden waste. Now, with The Green Cone by Solarcone, you can eliminate your kitchen waste, reducing your family’s trash by 20%.

The Green Cone reduces food waste to its natural components of water, carbon dioxide and a small residue. The solar-heated garden unit safely eliminates all cooked and uncooked food waste, including meat, fish, bones, dairy products, vegetables and fruit.

The Green Cone System allows you to:

  • Reduce your household waste by 20% or more.
  • Dispose of food waste immediately.
  • Keep your garbage cans clean and odor-free.
  • Keep remaining household waste clean and ready for recycling.

But most of all, the Green Cone system is beneficial to the environment. By using it, you can help conserve our precious landfill space and reduce the use of garbage truck fuel. Most importantly, you’ll conserve our earth’s natural resources, by decreasing the workload of large-scale treatment plants.

Whether you’re an environmentally responsible homeowner, a large family with significant kitchen waste, or the manager of a community recycling program, the Green Cone System is an invaluable tool to help you eliminate your food disposal problem… forever!

How it Works…

Returning natural products to their source!

Greencone composter digester The Green Cone is a four-part injection molded unit, comprised of:

  • Lower base unit basket, installed below the ground
  • Black inner cone
  • Green outer plastic cone
  • Custom-fitted lid

The diameter of the outer Green Cone is 23 inches at its base and 11.5 inches at the lid end. The in-ground food waste digestion chamber is 17 inches deep. The Green Cone stands less than 28 inches above the ground.

The Green Cone takes all household food waste, including vegetable scraps, raw and cooked meat or fish, bones, dairy products and other organic kitchen waste (e.g. tea bags, bread, etc.). Solarcone offers a convenient one-gallon Kitchen Caddy for collecting and carrying household food waste to the Green Cone.

The patented design of the unit utilizes a solar heating effect between the inner and outer cones to promote air circulation, which facilitates the growth of beneficial micro-organisms and the desirable aerobic digestion process. The household food waste is converted into water, carbon dioxide and a small amount of residue.

Because over 90% of the waste material in the Green Cone is absorbed safely as water by the soil, the Green Cone only needs to be cleaned once every few years when treated with care!

Easy to use for the whole family…

Once The Green Cone is properly installed it will soon become an invaluable household tool that you’ll use every day. Solarcone offers a variety of products that makes the Green Cone System easy to use for the entire family:

Green Cone Kitchen Caddy
The Green Cone Kitchen Caddy is a convenient accessory that is kept in your kitchen to reduce the number of trips you make to your Green Cone. Throughout the day, food waste is stored in the caddy before it is taken to your Green Cone. The lid of the caddy contains a filter to eliminate any possible odors in your kitchen.

The Green Cone is designed to eliminate:

  • 1 full caddy (1 gallon of waste) every 1-2 days during summer
  • 1 full caddy (1 gallon of waste) every 2-3 days during winter

Remember to add Accelerator Powder during the winter months.

Accelerator Powder
Solarcone also offers BiOWiSH™ Compost Boost. The enzymes in BiOWiSH rapidly increase thE natural decomposition and composting process to significantly increase the performance of your digester or compost bin Biowish compost enzyme

Used regularly BiOWiSH™ Compost Boost is the easiest and most cost effective way to remove odors, discourage pests and rodents, and increase composting performance.

Dealing with Household Waste

The Green Cone is an integral part of dealing with your household waste. It eliminates your cooked and uncooked kitchen food waste, including meat, fish, bones, dairy products, vegetables, fruit, peelings, etc. Virtually the only exceptions are bulk amounts of food related materials that require a very long time to breakdown, namely: cooking oil/fat and the hard shells of nuts and seafood, such as oysters and crabs.


What CAN go into the Green Cone
What CANNOT go into the Green Cone
Red Meat & Poultry
All Bones
Fruit including peelings
Vegetables including peelings
Dairy produce
Cooked food scraps
Crushed egg shells
Tea bags
Animal excrement
Grass cuttings
Hedge clippings
Bulk oil
Disinfectant & bleaches
“Special treatment items”

green cone composter digester


  1. Choose a sunny spot in the garden — the sunnier the better.
  2. If your soil drains well, dig a hole 32″ wide and 24″ deep. If you live in an area of heavy clay or chalk where drainage isn’t as good, dig a hole 36″ wide and 28″ deep.
  3. Mix some of the soil from the hole with gravel and/or compost for backfilling later. In areas of heavy clay or chalk, include gravel, small stones, small pieces of broken terracotta pots, or small pieces of broken bricks in the mixture to aid drainage.
  4. Place the mixture in the base of the hole so that the base of the basket is 1″ below ground level at the base of the hole.
  5. Place the assembled Green Cone in the hole. Ensure the top of the black basket and the bottom lip of the green outer cone are below ground level.
  6. Backfill the gap around the Green Cone with the mixture until the bottom lip of the Green Cone is fully covered.

Your installation is complete!
Your Green Cone is now ready for years of productive use. Post-installation, be sure to periodically check your soil level, which may drop with heavy rain. To check, make sure that the bottom lip of the green outer cone is fully covered, adding backfill as needed.


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So – our very keen and zealous families have been using the green cone too much! It is getting too full with all of our families using it. There has not been enough time for the sun to do its maginc and break the waste down.

So – we have to give the cone a break for a while.

We also need a plan to install the second cone.

Idea’s anyone? Where can we put it?

Happy weigh-in tonight.


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Now that we have one of the two green cones installed for our challenge on Colborne Street we have had many families ask us what can go into the green cone.

Here is a list of items that can go into our cones:

Red Meat & Poultry
All Bones
Fruit including peelings
Vegetables including peelings
Dairy produce
Cooked food scraps
Crushed egg shells
Tea bags
(Animal excrement – we will not be putting this into our cones but it can go in a green cone!)

DO NOT PUT into the Green Cone:

Hard sea shells like Oysters etc

Nut shells

Grass cuttings
Hedge clippings
Bulk oil
Disinfectant & bleaches

Dealing with Household Waste

The Green Cone is an integral part of dealing with your household waste. It eliminates your cooked and uncooked kitchen food waste, including meat, fish, bones, dairy products, vegetables, fruit, peelings, etc.

Virtually the only exceptions are bulk amounts of food related materials that require a very long time to breakdown, namely: cooking oil/fat and the hard shells of nuts and seafood, such as oysters and crabs.

Other household waste (i.e. non-kitchen waste) must not be put into the Green Cone, but disposed of in methods approved by local community guidelines, for example:

Recycle: Non-biodegradable materials such as metal, wood, plastic and consumer items such as batteries, mobile phones, etc.

Compost: Straw and garden waste such as grass and hedge clippings.

Treat with special care:

Petroleum based liquids, solvents, paints, chemicals such as bleach, household cleaners, insecticides, etc.
Medical / pharmaceutical waste such as dressings, medicine and drugs.

Sanitary items such as disposable diapers.

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Dog waste is a big problem and there are things we can do about it besides chucking it into the garbage in a Safeway plastic bag! Here are some reasons dog poop is so foul and contributes to water pollution:

– Stormwater carries pet waste and other pollutants directly into waterways.
– Pet waste can release ammonia into the water which can kill fish and other aquatic life. At the same time, it can stimulate excessive growth of algae and other aquatic weeds.
– lllegal to send to landfills in many states.
– The typical dog produces 274 pounds of waste each year, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
– Unfortunately, if you put Lassie’s waste in a plastic bag, it takes up to 100 years to decompose.

So – what can you do? Here are three solutions for you to consider:

1> Pet-Friendly Automatic Composter

– Specially tuned for pet waste: lower air flow, mixing, and heat than our other composters, to avoid drying out or over processing the compost.
– Compost automatically discharged when ready.
– Great solution for city living and apartment and condo residents who want to stop sending all that kitchen waste to the dump.
– Can be used indoors or out.
– Plugs into a standard power outlet.
– 50 cents a month to run. 10 watts of power.

2> Green Cone Composting System

– Stainless steel components for continuous heavy loads.
– Ideal for large families, gourmet cooks, offices, or small restaurants.
– Available in designer colors.
– Foot pedal for convenient hands-free operation.
– Security lock feature included.

3> Pet Poo Converter

– Handle droppings of 2 medium dogs
– Easy to use compact unit
– Worm Farm
– Power of nature to recycle pet waste
– Worms eat bacteria so odor free
– No chemicals used

So no more excuses – help the world and composte your dog waste!

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Is this really sustainable?

Yes, it really is.

As a solution for dealing with food waste (or any waste for that matter) you can’t get any better than ‘right away, where it’s created’, which is what the Green Cone does.

Each year, and at any given moment, literally millions of tons of food waste are in transport from homes and businesses to landfills, composters and other facilities, sometimes hundreds of miles from where the waste was created. The number of trucks and the distance they travel is huge, as is the amount of greenhouse gas they create. So a solution that can effectively take up to one third of the total garbage we create out of that carbon cycle, with no negative impact on the other side, and can do so ad infinitum, is about as sustainable as you can get.

From an economic perspective, the cost of a Green Cone can be amortized over a couple of years, maximum, based on current tipping fees for waste in most communities. That doesn’t consider the long term cost of the carbon impact or even the pickup and hauling costs. So that’s a second solid leg of the sustainability stool.

Maybe just as important is that the Green Cone puts responsibility for waste in the hands of the people who create it, and gives them an easy, effective way to deal with it. That’s empowering, and it also gives us all a chance to look the waste we produce on a daily basis in the eye, and maybe take steps to reduce it.

Add in that the Green Cone is made in North America from recycled plastic, that it utilizes no chemicals or additives in operation. It’s durable – it’s guaranteed for 10 years, there are Green Cones still operating after twenty – and easily maintained, as all of the individual parts are readily available should something ever break. And the parts themselves can be recycled or reused if there ever is an end of the day. It truly has a cradle-to-cradle existence.

Some research to think about:

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The Green Cone is not a composter

No, as the sign says – Not a Composter. The Green Cone produces no compost – 90% of the waste is decomposed into nutrient rich water that is absorbed back into the soil.

Composting is a great way to deal with garden and vegetable based food waste and create a rich natural soil supplement for your garden. But it has its limitations as well as those advantages.



Takes all food waste including meat, bones, dairy Takes only vegetable based food waste
Doesn’t take garden waste Takes (needs) garden waste
Requires no stirring Needs to be stirred/turned on a regular basis
Empty only once every two or three years Needs to be emptied regularly
Can handle all of the food waste for a family of four to five Dependent on size
Needs sun and decent drainage (can be built)  
Works best in temperatures above -5° C Works best in temperatures above 0° C
Produces no compost – 90% of the waste is decomposed into nutrient rich water that is absorbed into the soil Produces rich supplement (compost) for garden use

So, in terms of dealing with food waste, the Green Cone is a complete solution and standard composting isn’t. The Green Cone is also a heck of a lot easier to use. On the gardening side, the Green Cone doesn’t replace composting, but it can work well in conjunction with it.

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