Cut down on food waste with this $25 fridge gadget
Extend the life of your fruits and veggies.
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Each year, Americans produce a staggering 40 million tons of food waste, which breaks down to about 219 pounds of food per person, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Roughly 30% of our total food supply goes into a landfill, at a cost of $161 billion each year, or $1,600 per family.
Besides the enormous waste of money and the missed opportunity to feed the food insecure, food that goes into the landfill also has major environmental repercussions—rotting food in landfills emits methane gas, which contributes to climate change.
While much bigger, systemic and environmental policy changes are crucial to help curb food waste on a large scale, if my family of five is clocking in anywhere near the average, that’s over one thousand pounds of wasted food a year. And if the $25 Lasko Fresh Slice Fridge Ionizer can help us cut back on that by keeping our food fresher, longer, we’ll try it.
Lasko has been in business for over a century, first making metal products, and then—since the mid-20th century—specializing in home appliances like portable fans, space heaters, and air purifiers. Founded in Philadelphia and now headquartered just outside of the city, most of the company’s products are manufactured in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas.
What is the Lasko AP120 Fresh Slice Fridge Ionizer?
Shaped like a slice of watermelon and about 6 inches long and 3 inches high, the Lasko Fridge Ionizer is in the business of keeping vegetables and fruits fresh, keeping your fridge smelling clean as a result. It works by using Lasko’s OxiPure technology, which helps control both odors and ethylene gas.
The latter is emitted by fruit like apples, avocados, and blueberries, and causes them (and ethylene-sensitive fruits and vegetables that surround them) to ripen, degrade, and spoil faster. The Lasko Fridge Ionizer helps break down the odors and gas, and therefore keeps the space smelling fresh, and your produce perkier.
Using the Lasko AP120 Fresh Slice Fridge Ionizer
I tested the Fresh Slice Fridge Ionizer in my kitchen refrigerator. After unboxing the product and adding the required three AA batteries, I placed it on a middle shelf in the center of my fridge, a GE Cafe series model, where I usually keep containers of berries and open bags of paper towel-wrapped fresh herbs.
After the first 10 days, I moved it into the produce drawer for another week. I also removed the boxes of baking soda I usually keep in the fridge, so as not to muddle my findings.
What I like
It works! This small gadget has a button that blinks green intermittently, so at first I wasn’t sure if it was working properly. But after the first week, plastic clamshells of blueberries and strawberries, a package of Persian cucumbers, and two stray red peppers were still fresh. After 10 days, my bunches of cilantro and Italian parsley were still perfectly unwithered with no signs of spoilage. (The berries, cucumbers, and peppers were all consumed before they went bad, which, I hate to say, rarely happens in my house.)
My fridge also smells like… nothing. I usually keep two open boxes of baking soda—one on the top shelf in the back, and one on the door—to try to curb the usual fridge odors. I assume they work better than nothing, but they definitely don’t work as well as this gadget.
Not only was there no smell from any of the usual suspects—cut scallions, a hunk of parmesan, a week’s worth of leftovers waiting to be reheated—but the fresh herbs, swaddled in paper towels in open plastic bags, lasted double the time they usually do. I can’t ever make enough tacos, Aloo Gobi, or Thai green curry to use up all the cilantro before having to add a bunch to the compost bin. But thanks to the Lasko Fridge Ionizer, I had fresh herbs for two solid weeks.
Besides doing the job it advertises, the device is fairly small and thin, so it doesn’t take up too much precious fridge space.
What I don’t like
Before enough time passed for me to feel certain it was working (based on the evidence of fresh produce and no odor), I wasn’t sure if it was working at all, since there’s no sound, no discernable motion, and the green light blinks intermittently. I would’ve liked a clearer signal that it was on and doing its stealthy job.
Is the Lasko AP120 Fresh Slice Fridge Ionizer worth it?
Yes. For $25, this gadget has the potential to save you money on produce and reduce your family’s carbon footprint. For me, it gave us more time to actually eat the vegetables we buy. (The fruit always gets eaten in my house, but somehow the carrots, leafy greens, and other veggies are left too long.) In the four weeks I tested the fridge ionizer, we barely wasted any produce. Sadly, I still had to toss a little parsley—those bunches are so big!
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.