We all want to make better choices for ourselves and the planet, but whether we're at the beginning of our journey towards a more sustainable lifestyle or well on our way, it can be hard to know what the next step is. For us, it's the FoodCycler by Vitamix Eco 5.

In Toronto, we're lucky to have plenty of spots like 1 Hotel and its restaurants 1 Kitchen and Harriet's Rooftop that are making efforts towards sustainability — and can help us on our journey. We also have access to zero-waste grocery stores like The Green Jar and Unboxed Market that sell plenty of housewares to keep us on track and away from plastic packaging. 

At home, planning out meals can help reduce food waste. Making an effort to whip up recipes with sustainable seafood or shake up sustainable cocktail recipes is great, too. But we can't always turn vegetable ends like fennel fronds into pasta. Some of it — like peels, stems and coffee grounds — is just unavoidable. Given all we know about how much greenhouse gas is produced by decomposing food, it makes us feel even worse about filling up our green bin every week. This is where the new FoodCycler by Vitamix Eco 5 comes in. It makes reducing food waste as easy as the push of a button. 

Pressing a button on the FoodCycler by Vitamix Eco 5

FoodCycler by Vitamix Eco 5: What is it

Made by Vitamix, in partnership with Ottawa-based company Food Cycle Science, the FoodCycler reduces the volume of food waste by up to 90 per cent. The appliance pulverizes, heats and aerates food waste all at once, turning it into a fine powder that can be added to garden soil. The grinding system even works on meat, bones and shells. I took one for a test drive to find out if it was as great as promised.

When it arrives, it's larger than I expected — after all, the FoodCycler by Vitamix Eco 5 can process up to 5 L of food waste. The design is sleek and stylish, and it comes in a beautiful slate grey that creates a more subtle profile than solid black, but still works well with other black or stainless steel appliances. It looks nice enough to leave on the counter, but it's a bit too large for my small kitchen. Instead, I opt to put it in a corner on the floor where it's easily accessible. 

Removing the bucket from the FoodCycler by Vitamix Eco 5

FoodCycler by Vitamix Eco 5: How it works

I stash the removable bucket under the sink, where we would normally keep a small bucket for organics. It takes almost two weeks to fill, but a filter in the lid prevents any bad smells from leaking out into the kitchen. I throw tons of different stuff inside, from peels and thick plant stocks (goodbye, sunflower bouquet) to small bones. Finally, it's time to test out the FoodCycler by Vitamix Eco 5.

The FoodCycler by Vitamix Eco 5 bucket with food scraps inside

After filling the filter with carbon pellets — they need to be replaced a few times a year to help reduce smells from permeating the kitchen — I place the bucket inside, removing its lid and closing the machine lid. One press of the button and the FoodCycler by Vitamix Eco 5 starts quietly whirring away. It's almost silent; for the first few minutes, I keep checking back to make sure it's on. Even my fridge makes more noise. 

Eventually, I forget about it. And then, I'm ashamed to say, I really forget about it. More than two weeks go by before I empty the FoodCycler by Vitamix Eco 5 — a testament to its flawless smell-proof design. When I do open it, the food waste has been significantly reduced in size, and now resembles dried mulch.

The FoodCycler by Vitamix Eco 5 on a counter

FoodCycler by Vitamix Eco 5: The verdict

With a garden, it's easy to toss the reduced food waste among the plants to give them a nutrient boost. From start to finish, the whole process is straightforward and simple. The removable bucket is used just like a green bin, and the FoodCycler by Vitamix Eco 5 operates almost silently and odourlessly with the press of a button. It's a brilliantly low-effort and high-impact appliance that will help reduce your food waste while creating a soil amendment to nourish your plants. 

FoodCycler by Vitamix Eco 5, $799.95, vitamix.com