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Post-Doc Wants to Put a Lid on Messy Composting

By Matt Terry

March 5, 2014 – It’s supposed to be a simple household task, meant to divert organic material from the landfill.

But composting is often anything but pleasant. From the hordes of fruit flies that swarm above the green bin to the compostable bin liners that inevitably dissolve, spilling slime on hands, kitchen counters and floors, composting is often a dirty, smelly job.

And that, says Morgan Wyatt, is why the world needs the Greenlid.

The simple product – a container made of compressed pulp with a reusable lid – is the brainchild of Wyatt, a McMaster post-doctoral fellow (in the lab of Nathan Magarvey, member of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research), and his brother Jackson. And its usefulness is summed up in its slogan: “Never clean your compost bin again.”

That’s because you use the Greenlid and then throw it away. But not into the trash: the Greenlid containers are completely compostable, just like the banana peels and apple cores you put inside.

“It’s just a better way to collect organic waste in the kitchen,” says Wyatt, who got the idea after seeing compostable coffee cups.

“I just thought, ‘Why can’t we do something larger?’”

They could, and after some research and design modifications, they did. Picture a bucket of KFC chicken made of end-of-life recycled pulp rather than virgin paper. It’s similar to the material most egg cartons are made of, and very environmentally friendly.

The pair are currently raising money for the Greenlid product on crowdfunding website Kickstarter. As of 9 a.m. Feb. 27, 172 backers had invested more than $10,000 in the project.

The Wyatts are hoping to raise $25,000 to buy the moulds needed to manufacture the containers. And they want to eventually get the Greenlid onto the supermarket shelf.

For now, backers who pledge $30 or more can get started with 10 containers and the reusable lid.

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Photo: Chemical biologist Morgan Wyatt’s Greenlid composting container is attracting a lot of attention on crowdfunding website Kickstarter. The container is meant to be mess-free way of storing organic waste. – Photo by JD Howell