Lomi is a countertop appliance that will compost items that its maker approves for use with its $500+ machine. Lomi is made by Pela, a Canadian/USA company known for its repurposed plastic iPhone cases and other products.
How Lomi works
Lomi speeds up the breakdown of organic waste into smaller fragments - similar to how earthworms break down and mix plant tissue into the soil, except Lomi does this without the smell and mess! Fragmented waste provides more surface area for microbes to accelerate the composting process. The end result is a natural source of soil nutrients that increase the organic content of the soil, helping boost plant growth and soil enrichment.
GUEST BLOG / By Mary Jane Duford, writing in HomefortheHarvest.com, a beginners blog to gardening--There are numerous benefits (and also some notable drawbacks) to the Lomi Composter.
Pros of Lomi Machines
--Setting up the machine is very easy (see these Lomi Setup tips).
--The machine looks great with its contemporary design and simple user interface.
--Lomi accepts most food scraps and plate scrapings. Only a select few items are excluded.
--Trimmings from houseplants can go straight into the bucket.
--The composting process occurs right in the compost bucket, avoiding transfer to a larger heap.
--Leftovers can be turned into Lomi Compost plant food if they don't get eaten.
--Lomi brings composting into the house as a kitchen appliance, avoiding extra trips outdoors. Good for cold/rainy climates.
--The end product dirt from Grow Mode can be mixed with potting soil and added to the garden or used for repotting houseplants as a homemade fertilizer.
--The bucket is dishwasher safe (and also quite easy to clean in the sink).
Cons of Lomi Machines
--Lomi is expensive. The unit costs $499 USD plus $39 every 3 months for 3 years to cover replacement filter charcoal and LomiPods.
--The machine can seem quite large if countertop space is limited in your kitchen. It may have to be placed in a nearby room or utility room with more available surface area.
--Lomi composters don't accept hard food waste like fruit pits (avocado, mango, et cetera) or bones.
--Lomi composters don't accept cooking oils or sugary liquids (juice, soda, et cetera). --Dense food waste and plant matter (corn cobs, flower bulbs, et cetera) must be chopped up prior to adding.
--The unit makes a quiet but audible noise (a bit like a printer) that can be distracting.
--There is no mute setting to silence beeps (especially important for sleeping babies & zoom calls)
Lomi composting units cost $499 USD as of 2022. There is also the re-occurring cost of replacing the filter charcoal and buying new packs of LomiPods (which go into most cycles). The 2-year subscription for the filter charcoal for the carbon filters and LomiPods costs $39 every 3 months.
The cost of a Lomi unit appears to be appropriate in comparison to alternative electric composters on the market. The larger in-home electric units (Oklin GG-02, Zera Food Recycler, Kalea) have more capacity but tend to be at least twice the price of Lomi. The most direct comparison product, the Vitamix FoodCycler, has a slightly smaller bucket capacity than Lomi and costs about a hundred dollars less than Lomi. Breville's FoodCycler (Australia) also has a smaller capacity and a similar price. The new Tero Composter has a slightly larger bucket capacity than Lomi and a similar price.
Great non-electric composters also aren't cheap. The top-of-the-line Jora Composters range from about $400 USD to over $900 USD for residential compost tumblers.
Lomi maker Pela points out "There are a couple reasons for Lomi's price point. Lomi is the ONLY appliance on the market with a mode to break down Lomi Approved bioplastics. Our heating and abrasion mechanisms are top-of-the-line and we manufacture in a Carbon Neutral facility with exceptional standards for workers. Comparable home food composters cost $800+ and offer less convenience and functionality than Lomi."
Who Is Lomi Best For?
Lomi is best for at-home composting or for composting in a small office or classroom. It works well for those wishing to reduce their carbon footprint, bring composting in-house, and do so without too much disruption to day-to-day life. Lomi is not suited to large industrial composting or for off-grid households with limited available electricity wattage. Lomi is currently available in the USA and Canada (where Pela is headquartered) but will be available for international shipping in autumn 2022.
Composting in Apartments
Lomi is perfect for households living in an apartment, condo, or townhouse without an outdoor space for composting. Rather than having to take food waste out to the green bin before it starts to smell (or keeping a bag of food scraps in the freezer to reduce the odor), the Lomi unit deals with the mess and takes care of it inside the home. Best of all, the metal bucket is dishwasher-safe for easy clean-up.
Lomi is a wonderful device for households living in cold or hot climates where outdoor compost can be a hassle. In cold weather, trips to an outdoor compost tumbler can involve an icy walk. Food scraps take a long time to compost outdoors in cold temperatures and may also attract pest wildlife if natural food sources are limited in the winter. In hot temperatures, outdoor composts and green bins can smell quite bad and also become attractive to pest animals.
Composting indoors with Lomi makes dealing with food waste easy no matter what season it is (or how active the microbes are given the temperature). Making Plant Food In-House Lomi is also great for gardeners. It can be quite satisfying to grow your own food, make a meal with vegetables you've grown, compost the food scraps from the meal, and then add the finished compost (and its nutrients) back into the garden.
Lomi makes this possible because it accepts mixed plate scrapings (including meat) that might not be ok for an outdoor composter. Many gardeners do their main annual composting work in autumn by making leaf mold compost from fallen leaves.
Keeping food scraps separate makes leaf mold easier to "set and forget" your big compost batch in the fall without having to worry about turning food scraps into an active compost heap.
There is also the potential benefit of compost with significant micronutrients (in addition to the main plant macronutrients) due to the diverse mixed nature of household food waste.
Lomi's Energy Use
Lomi's energy use is comparable to other household appliances, such as fridges, toasters, dishwashers, blenders, and bread makers. Energy use varies between cycles and different modes but is generally around or less than 1 kWh of electricity per cycle. Assuming the October 2021 US Average Price of Electricity (Residential) of 14.11 cents per kWh (source: US EIA), running one Lomi cycle should cost less than 15 cents.