I’m turning. My wife paid for indoor composting. Since we live on a boat and space is so expensive, it took me a while to get the idea. She was right.
The Lumi Composter by Pela Earth A real breakthrough in the ease of use and convenience of indoor home composting, it also solves a huge problem when it comes to the inevitable food waste associated with our two young children. What it does still seems magical to me: With a combination of heat, agitation, and maybe a dusting of pixie (I suppose) it turns a basket full of food waste into a usable handful of dirt in a matter of hours.
Is Home Compost Right For You? To answer that question, we’re going to take you through the ins and outs of using Lomi, which I’ve done every day for the past month.
|Voltage||Lomi in the US and Canada will be 110V. The EU model will be 220-240V with Type C plug. Australia plug is 220-240V.|
|Electricity consumption||Eco Express: less than 0.60 kWh; Lomi certified: less than 0.75 kWh; Grow mode: uses about 1 kWh|
|Dimensions||Lomi measures 16″ W x 13″ D x 12″ H or 228mm W x 388mm D x 314mm H.|
|Weight||9 kg (19-20 lbs.)|
|Product materials||Lomi’s exterior is made of recyclable plastic and the interior is made of metal. Lomi is part of the 360 Program, which means that at the end of your Lomi’s life, you can send it back to Pela for responsible recycling.|
|Eco Express mode||3-5 hours. This is the perfect way to start the decomposition process. Waste is greatly reduced, and it’s perfect for adding to compost as a starter.|
|growth mode||Grow mode takes 16 to 20 hours. By the end of this cycle, you will have a final, microbial-rich product ready to use.|
|Lomi approved mode||Lomi certified mode takes 5-8 hours. This is one of Lomi’s special features. Unlike other composts, Lomi can break down certified bio-plastics into dirt that can then be placed in your green trash.|
How it works
Well, not really.
Lomi speeds up the composting process by using heat and abrasion to break down food waste, certified bioplastics and packaging. Lomi cycles is a multi-step process inside a small machine, designed to mimic compost at every stage.
The first stage is grinding. Naturally, you will hear this, and it is worth noting here that Lumi makes some noise. It’s something you can’t have a conversation about, kind of like a bread machine in kneading mode. But grinding is necessary for the composting process. Small pieces of food are easier to break down than large pieces, because the increased aeration and surface area make it easier for microorganisms to break down waste.
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Then, the cycle of heating and cooling begins to break down the food. The machine simulates nature’s mesophilic (moderate temperature), thermophilic (high temperature stage), and cooling stages, but accomplishes in a few hours what nature takes several months. Internal sensors ensure proper moisture content, warm temperatures and plenty of oxygen for natural decomposition. Lomi’s three modes—Eco-Express, Grow, and Lomi Approved—do this at varying speeds, which affects the final product and what you can do with it.
My kids, at least, cling to the magical story. They call Lomi the “Princess Food Crusher” and they enjoy giving her unwanted leftovers.
Setting and form factor
The device is not small, which is important when it comes to limited counter space. Since we don’t have spare space to speak of aboard the Lindy, our World War II-era sailboat, we keep ours under the table in our saloon. This makes it convenient to deposit leftovers from the inevitably hectic weekday breakfast rush followed by the school rush.
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Before using your Lomi for the first time, you need to fill two filters with the activated charcoal that came with the device. Charcoal pellets are dangerous if allowed to separate, leaving black streaks on anything they touch. Pouring it into Lomi filters isn’t complicated but I found it hard not to make a mess thanks to the coal dust.
The charcoal should be replaced every three months to keep the lome smelling fresh. This is an additional cost that potential buyers should be aware of. At the time of writing, a 90-course supply of Pela Earth charcoal costs about $50 with the subscription (or about $55 without).
Once the coals are inserted, simply plug in the Lomi and you’re in business.
This is the real revelation for me. Like many consumers who strive to be environmentally conscious and sometimes fail, I find myself surprised whenever I throw my food waste into the trash.
A big part of the problem is that there is no residential food waste program in Marina del Rey, where we live, which means food waste often ends up in landfill. As Pela Earth quickly points out, food waste is the most common material landfilled and incinerated in the United States, making up 24% and 22% of landfilled and incinerated municipal solid waste. And 50% of the volume of waste that North Americans send to landfills each year is compostable.
Lomi is an alternative to throwing food waste in the trash.
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We mainly use it as a litter box for food and green waste. It lives under our table and when the kids can’t be tempted to finish a meal or there’s leftover crust or scraps from dinner preparation, it all goes. When the bucket is about 75% full, and its boundaries are demarcated internally by a written line, we turn on Lomi, which is as easy as pressing a button.
We usually run the Lomi in Eco-Express mode, which takes about 3-5 hours. Since the volume of the resulting product is much less than what we put in, we leave the dirt and put new food waste on top of it. Lomi recommends running no more than three cycles per full bucket.
Lomi recommends adding a mixture of different food waste. Here is a helpful breakdown of the different items that are permitted in general and in different situations.
What mode should I use?
There are three modes, Eco ExpressAnd the Lumi agreedAnd the grow. The differences are important and help explain exactly what you’re making with Lomi. (Hint, it’s not a fertilizer.)
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Eco-Express mode is the fastest and takes about 3-5 hours. You can add the resulting dirt to your green trash or do what we do and add it to the next cycle you run with Lomi.
Lumy agreed: This mode is for food waste, bioplastics and certified Lomi packaging products. Lomi recommends using the LomiPod in this mode, which adds beneficial microbes to aid in the process of breaking down bioplastics. This mode takes about 5-8 hours. The resulting dirt can be thrown into the green bin, but like Eco-Express dirt it is not rich in microorganisms and should not be used on plants.
growth mode: This mode is for use with fruit and vegetable waste only. So there are no cooked or processed foods and no bioplastics. This mode uses low heat to help preserve microorganisms. Lomi recommends adding LomiPod in this mode. The benefit is that the resulting dirt can be mixed with garden soil or houseplants. Lomi recommends a 1:10 dirt to soil ratio.
How much power does Lomi use?
Pela Earth reports that Lomi uses between 0.6 to 1.0 kWh per cycle. This is a chart that provides power usage statistics for each mode.
Lomey compost conditions
Average power consumed
types of waste
Food and organic waste
Food and organic waste
Food and organic waste
Lomi certified bioplastic
Lomi certified products and packaging
Green or green laundry?
Indoor composting is not without controversy, and the important question is whether Lomi truly provides an environmental advantage or whether this is just a green gimmick.
Remember, the big environmental benefit of composting is less food waste that ends up in landfills. The crux of the suspicion is that Lumi uses a certain amount of power to turn food waste into filth, which would negate any positive effect.
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Lomi vigorously combated this perception by enlisting the services of third parties to determine if Lomi’s dirt offset the electrical requirements of operating the device. The tests factor in variables including whether or not the home uses renewable energy (eg, solar) and what people do with the dirt at the end of the cycle (eg, use it for backyard plants, put it in a green bin, or send it to Garbage).
From the company’s website:
With the help of third party audits, we found it Despite the electricity consumed, Lomi can produce a lower net carbon footprint than that organic waste that goes to landfill.
You can read more about the results of these tests here, but the bottom line is net CO2e savings of around 100kg to 230kg CO2e per year, depending on your usage patterns.
We use it every day. As I sit and write this, Lomi has just completed another course. For us, the bottom line is that this product is a huge win.
Is it true for you? Look, ideally, you don’t generate as much food waste as we do. (And we try really hard not to, I promise!) If you live somewhere with a yard or common space nearby, you should probably explore traditional composting options first. It will be cheaper and more environmentally friendly. Lomi can be used successfully in concert with a typical composter, but this is not our use case and you’ll have to decide if it’s worth the cost for you.
But if you live in an apartment or other small space, like our boat, and if food waste is an issue for you, I definitely recommend Lomi’s. It’s pricey, but it will quickly become the device you didn’t know you needed. Pela Earth is an environmentally friendly company that is Climate Neutral certified, and Lomi is a solid product that looks like it will continue to work as intended for a long time.
If you’re tight on space and need to optimize food waste handling, Lomi is a great solution.
Alternatives to consider
Slightly cheaper than Lomi, it’s a comparable product with a different form factor.
The greatness of the traditional outdoor composter, if you have the space and the waste, this is a great growing machine.