Does the $499 Lomi composter actually work?

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Eco-Express mode is the shortest composting cycle and consumes the least energy. It takes 3-5 hours to complete. Depending on the company, the end product of the Eco-Express mode can be thrown into your compost pile, green bin or trash can. While I understand that breaking down organic matter before throwing it away reduces the release of methane, it still feels like a bit of a waste to throw it in the trash. I also don’t have a green bin or compost bin (because if I had, I’d only use that), so I never use this mode. But I can see how handy this option would be for those who don’t have plants and have limited bin space or are dedicated to their worm bin. The Lomi reduces the mass of food waste by up to 80%, which means much less waste in the freezer.

The Lomi-Approved setting is for some bioplastics in addition to compostable food waste, and it takes 5-8 hours. My experience with this setting has been mixed. At first, I was thrilled to be able to compost bioplastics from the comfort of my own home. Then, reading the fine print, I realized that only a handful of Lomi-approved bioplastics could be processed with this setting. Not all bioplastics break down equally and some require industrial composting facilities. The final product from Lomi-Approved mode can go in the green bin or trash, but not directly in your soil.

With all of these settings running I was concerned about how much power it would take. However, the Lomi uses about 1 kWh per grow cycle, less than the electricity of a dishwasher. I further reduce my usage by waiting to run the cycle until the bin is at maximum capacity.

What the Lomi composter does well:

The Lomi does its job easily without too much hands-on work. It usually takes me a few days to fill the Lomi bin, and the smell of slow decaying products is imperceptible when the lid is in place thanks to these carbon filters. I know this will be especially appreciated during the summers when the fruit flies multiply in the blink of an eye.

I also like the fact that I don’t have to empty my Lomi after every cycle. Any food waste that goes into the Lomi reduces to a very small amount of Lomi “dirt”, so you can run up to three cycles in a row before you have to empty it. Being able to collect dirt in the bin until there is a substantial amount of it prevents the work from being tedious. There’s also something undeniably magical about seeing food scraps decompose into something unrecognizable and then being able to immediately use it to repot your plants (at a 1:10 ratio to soil). There’s no such thing as instant gratification.

What can Lomi compost?

You can add leftover food such as pieces of fruit and vegetables, cereal, eggshells, leftover meat, soft bones and coffee grounds. You can also put plant scraps and compostable paper plates, bags and cups in the Lomi. The grinding gear cannot process some harder items like avocado pits or nut shells, but can handle small amounts of corn husks, pistachio shells, and sticky items like honey and butters of nuts. You will want to avoid hard bones and cooking oil.

How exactly does Lomi’s composting process work?

Much of what the Lomi does is simply dry and grind whatever you put in it. However, according to their website, the Lomi uses several patent-pending sensors to ensure microorganisms are preserved while the waste is broken down. Too hot an environment will kill them; an environment that is too cold will hinder the decomposition of organic matter. These microbes are what makes compost so good for the soil. This is also where the LomiPods come in. The pods (which look like white SweetTarts) are dropped onto the waste just before a cycle with a splash of water, and they infuse the waste with a proprietary blend of probiotics. The LomiPods are a great addition because although the Lomi does a great job breaking down food waste, no one composts like Mother Nature. The extra probiotics give Lomi compost a nutrient-rich boost.

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