We all have good intentions when we fill our fridges with an abundance of healthy produce. We’ll definitely eat it within just a few days, we tell ourselves. But when we wait too long, the inevitable occurs. The kale starts to wilt. The carrots go soft. The berries are covered in mold. What if you could buy a small air purifier that lived inside your refrigerator, reducing the bacterial load to keep your food fresh longer? Then you might actually get to make that antioxidant-rich spa salad instead of having to throw the ingredients away. Vitesy’s “Shelfy” is a device that claims to do just that.
Currently wrapping up a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, the Shelfy sort of looks like a misplaced Apple device. It’s a minimalist white pod that you tuck onto one of your refrigerator shelves to let it do its magic. Taking up less space than a gallon of milk, the Shelfy extends shelf life up to 12 days, reduces bad odors by 80 percent, and results in up to 10 times less bacterial load inside the refrigerator.
To use it, you just select the mode you want (eco, standard, or boost); place it in the fridge wherever it fits best, including in a drawer or door; and reap the benefits. Shelfy’s makers claim the device can keep some vegetables like zucchini good for as long as 22 days, and extend the lives of fast-rotting foods like strawberries by up to a week.
Food waste is a major contributor to environmental crises like climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution, requiring tons of resources and land to grow food that people don’t end up eating (and emitting methane gases when it rots). A single family spends an average of almost $2,000 a year on food that they end up throwing away. Shelfy cites studies that show one out of every two refrigerators has an above-average proliferation of mold and bacteria, contributing to the problem.
The Shelfy uses an advanced ceramic filter, a silent fan, and a battery to take in air inside the refrigerator through mechanical ventilation, passing it through a photocatalytic filter that destroys pollutants. After a while, it’ll notify you that it’s time to remove the filter and wash it under running water, or charge it via a USB-C plug. You can control it with the Vitesy Hub app and connect it to Amazon Alexa and Google Home via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The Shelfy also monitors your refrigerator’s energy consumption based on how many times you open the door.
The designers explain that they “conducted research at CSI SpA – FPM Laboratory (Food Packaging Materials), an Italian and European technological hub with a team of about 400 experts including engineers, physicists, chemists,and microbiologists who have made quality, safety, and sustainability the backbone of their professional role. They’re recognized as a center of excellence, especially for companies in the food, packaging, construction, and automotive sectors, in which every day, for more than 25 years, they have been working to enhance quality companies and protect the market.”
“Shelfy uses an innovative and sustainable nanomaterial-based photocatalytic technology since the filter doesn’t need to be replaced, just washed under running water. Photocatalysis is a safe chemical reaction that absorbs air pollutants and turns them into harmless elements. The use of this technology guarantees safety, better performance, and less consumption. In this way, we make Vitesy technology sustainable and effective.”
If you missed the Shelfy’s Kickstarter campaign, you’ll be able to pick one up soon for the retail price of €169 (about $175).