Home Composter

Scraps In, Soil Out

You’re concerned about the environment and you try to live as green as possible, but maybe you’ve shied away from composting? You might not have thought it was possible to compost without going to a lot of trouble. But guess what? With the NatureMill automatic compost bin, if you have electricity you can compost — quickly and easily.

Inventor Russ Cohn is a MIT-trained engineer who once left for vacation without emptying his kitchen compost, and the resultant warm mess that greeted him upon his return was the spark that
ignited the idea for NatureMill. If warmth speeds up the composting process, what about a self-contained unit that could use electricity to facilitate the breakdown of compostable materials? Using about the same energy drain as a nightlight, the NatureMill composter takes in food scraps (plus some sawdust pellets and baking soda) and produces nutrient-rich compost in just two weeks. It’s not magic, but it is the circle of life, right there in your cabinet.

We heard about NatureMill from Amanda Sargisson, who lives in San Francisco, where composting is mandatory. Just load in your scraps, and the NatureMill composter does the rest, letting you know when it’s time to harvest your rich, organic fertilizer. It’s composting made easy.
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Grommet Launch Conversation

  • Russ

    Back in 2002, San Francisco began giving away green bins for free home compost collection. Composting became mandatory in 2009 for all city residents. But the process of collecting and storing kitchen compost scraps for weekly pickup was messy. Dozens of prototypes and patents later, the NatureMill was born. We're up to great things. Just watch us. Someday everyone in the world will make compost, and what a difference that will make.

    We invite you to watch the video, see how it works, and ask any questions you have. As I am not available to answer questions today, feel free to ask Beth who has been with NatureMill since its start up garage days!

  • Ann
    5/14/2010 12:30 PM

    Can you continually add waste as it is composting or do you have to store up 2 weeks worth of scraps somewhere else while it is doing it's thing?

  • Beth
    5/14/2010 12:34 PM

    You can add up to 5 lbs of food waste every day. The food waste will turn into compost in a two week cycle. While the composting starts in the upper chamber, it continues in the lower chamber where it is continues to be exposed to heat and airflow. We recommend that you press OK to transfer once every two weeks or when the compost in the upper chamber looks like compost.

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    5/14/2010 1:07 PM

    Not only is this good for making rich soil and keeping food waste out of landfills, it would save us about $150 a year. That's how much it seems to cost us for a plumber when I overtax the garbage disposal or it comes up in our downstairs floor drain!

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    5/14/2010 2:35 PM

    The NatureMill composter has gotten some amazing reviews and awards. Here are just a few!

    • The New York Times - mentioned they liked the NatureMill composter in an 'All Things Green' roundup.

    • Oprah - included it in her Earth Day Event

    • ABC News - called it a better way to handle scraps

    • Better Homes and Garden - featured it as one of 9 ways to Go Green

    • The Discovery Channel - called it a great way to go green or brown

    • The History Channel - called it a modern marvel

    • NatureMill won Design Awards in the EcoDesign category of the International Design Excellence Awards and in the Housewares Design Awards

    • NatureMill won a Product Award in Popular Science 'Best of What's New' competition

    This is just a small list of the praise this machine has gotten. You have really created something great here!

  • Beth
    5/14/2010 2:46 PM

    Their current XE Series were also featured in a great article by Gwendolyn Bounds in the Wall Street Journal. They were noted as the IPOD of composters!

  • Janet
    5/14/2010 3:35 PM

    A couple of questions:

    How long does a 10 lb. bag of pellets last and are you the only purveyor of them?

    How much baking soda are we talking about?

  • Beth
    5/14/2010 3:49 PM

    Good questions! Depending on how much food waste you put into your NatureMill each day, the 10lb box can last from 3-6 months. We do conveniently sell them on our website, and they are also available on You need the sawdust pellets to be the "browns" that balance out the "greens" for ideal composting conditions. Most of our food waste tends to be "greens". The sawdust pellets are ideal.

    You can also get a 40lb bag at any DIY or hardware store for about $5. The sawdust pellets are the same pellets used for wood burning stoves. Free sawdust can also be found at your local lumber yard. Be sure it is not from treated wood!

    Included with the NatureMill you purchase is a starter kit of 8 lbs of sawdust plus 1 lb of baking soda. The ratio of sawdust pellets to baking soda to food waste is 1 cup to 1 teaspoon to 5 cups of food waste. You do need to add pellets and baking soda each time you add food waste into your NatureMill.

    Click here for full instructions

    Let me know if you have any other questions!

  • Janet
    5/14/2010 3:56 PM

    Thank you.

  • Kate
    5/14/2010 4:10 PM

    My husband is going to mention this to his 'Green Team' at work.

  • Grace
    5/14/2010 4:45 PM

    My family always throws out perfectly good food. With this composter, we could make our own compost right in our house and not have to buy it! I think this is a great idea!

  • marcia
    5/14/2010 7:24 PM

    This is a great time of year to think about composting. The benefits of home compost for your garden make it all worth while!

  • Tracy
    5/14/2010 8:02 PM

    My husband is a furniture maker who produces vast quantities of sawdust every week. Could we use that instead of the pellets to be the "brown" in the compost?

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    5/14/2010 8:20 PM

    @Tracy - great question. Beth has let me know that untreated sawdust is fine!

  • Bob
    6/19/2010 7:34 PM

    The concept is fine but its obviously for a single person or very "citified" folks that don't eat much. Its not nearly big enough. I would buy it if it had at least 2-3 times the capacity. Our family generates enough to fill a standard kitchen trash bag every 2 days.

    For a 2 week cycle, it should have at least a 15 gal. capacity.

  • Julie
    Julie – Grommet Team
    6/20/2010 6:59 PM

    @Bob This machine can accommodate up to 5 lbs. of food waste every day and is ideal for a family of up to 5 people. If you have a larger family or go through alot of food waste, unfortunately this may not be the solution for you. Thank you for stopping by to comment and share your insight.

  • j w
    j w
    9/14/2010 9:35 AM

    why does the things all ways cost so to have one but can't afford it.thanks

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    9/14/2010 11:17 AM

    @j w - innovative products do often have higher price tags than products that have been on the market for a longer period of time and have been adopted by the masses. We are glad that you like this product!

  • Emilie
    9/21/2010 12:06 PM

    This brought me to tears! Finally people are taking action and not just full of unpursued ideas...I'm excited for us!

  • Jeanne
    Jeanne – Grommet Team
    9/21/2010 1:11 PM

    @Emilie - what a perfect way of thinking about this and all other problem solvers out there. The more that make it through to the market = the better for all of us. Let's keep supporting these imaginative thinkers!

  • Alice
    1/23/2011 2:29 PM

    Being able to add 5 pounds a day is good to know, but how much volume is that - what are the inside dimensions? Also, I'd like to measure to see where it would fit in my kitchen - what are the outside dimensions? Oh yeah, and what about odors during the process - do I keep it outdoors instead of in my kitchen?

    Thanks so much. This sounds like a great product. I've been composting in a bin outdoors for a long time, but it's hard to keep the finished compost separate from the mid-process stuff. I always seem to have eggshells and peanut shells in the beautiful black dirt I end up with.

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    1/23/2011 10:48 PM

    @Alice : It is 20” high x 20” deep x 12” wide (outside dimensions)a little less than that for its inside dimensions. These are created to be indoor composters. There is a balance you need to maintain each time you add compost to avoid excessive odors. You can click here to open a pdf of the instruction manual. Since you are already an active composter, you will probably take to this process right away!

The launch day conversation has ended. Please direct further questions about this Grommet to our Community Experience Team.

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