Lomi Electronic Composter – Are The Claims True?

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Robert Pavlis

The Lomi electronic composter by Pela is one of the more popular kitchen units offered today. They have great marketing that promotes the the machines benefits. It is good for the environment, it produces “strong” fertilizer, it reduces the amount of kitchen waste and it even composts some types of compostable plastic.

This post will look at some of these claims to see if they are true.

Lomi Electronic Composter - Are The Claims True?
Lomi Electronic Composter – Are The Claims True?, Source: Lomi, used with permission

What is Lomi?

Lomi is a new type of kitchen appliance called an electronic composter, although Lomi does not use this term to describe their unit. Instead it is just “Lomi”, as in “Lomi does the food cleanup”.

I have described electronic composters before in Electric Composters – An Eco Win or Unnecessary Appliance? These machines claim to make compost in a few hours right in your home. That is so much easier and it’s a big appeal for people who do not have space for traditional composting.

In brief, you place your food scraps in the machine, turn it on, let it churn for a while and you have instant compost. How great is that?

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What Does Lomi Claim?

I will review some of their claims in the following sections. I won’t review every claim, and some of their claims are clearly valid. The machine does work, and it does “something” to your food scraps. It does not smell, it reduces the volume of food scraps and it is a useful product in certain situations.

I first contacted Lomi a couple of years ago to get some of their studies to confirm their claims. At the time they told me they were just going into production and had not done any. I contacted them a week ago and again asked them to validate some of their claims. I did receive a reply containing more marketing material but no studies to prove claims. I am quite convinced they don’t have any supporting studies, but if and when they send any, I will definitely update this post with the information.

A search in Google Scholar found no scientific studies that mention “Lomi composter” or “Pela”.

Does Lomi Reduces the Amount of Waste?

They say, ” You’ll be shocked at how much less waste you produce each week.” They claim an 80% reduction of waste. They then show you this diagram to confirm the 80%.

Lomi dries kitchen waste to reduce the volume of material
Lomi dries kitchen waste to reduce the volume of material, but not the weight of organic matter, Source: Lomi

What Lomi does is remove the water from kitchen scraps, and they might do some mixing to reduce particle size. This reduces the volume by 80%. However, on a weight basis the amount of organic material does not change so there is no “reduction of waste”. This is similar to making dried fruit. The dried fruit loses water, shrinks down, gets lighter in weight due to water loss but the organic matter (sugars and nutrients) are still in the fruit.

Water in such material is not an environmental issue. The weight of the organic matter is.

Does Lomi Help the Environment?

Lomi claiming it is better for the environment
Lomi claiming it is better for the environment, source: Lomi Environmental Impact pdf

In one of their brochures they claim that “Lomi reduces the carbon footprint of your food waste by 65%”. They use slight of hand marketing to convince you of this. Let’s have a closer look.

The above diagram, taken from their brochure, compares the equivalent CO2 produced with and without using Lomi. At first glance it looks like Lomi is good for the environment, but if we have a close look we see that they are comparing apples to oranges and surprise, oranges (i.e. Lomi) are sweeter.

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The left side sends the kitchen waste to landfill where it decomposes anaerobically resulting in the production of methane. Methane is 25 times worse for global warming than CO2 (from Compost Science for Gardeners). The right side processes the kitchen scraps through Lomi and puts the material in the garden where it produces CO2 instead of methane (due to aerobic conditions).

But …. that is not a valid comparison. They should be comparing two methods with the same destination, one with and one without Lomi.

If the kitchen scraps are added to the garden in both cases, one using Lomi and the other composting, the Lomi (using their own numbers) produces more CO2 because of the electricity (hydro) requirement. In this case it is not better for the environment.

If the material is sent to landfill in both cases, they might be equal in their CO2 production because the electricity Lomi uses reduces the weight of material (due to water loss) which in turn lowers the diesel fuel consumed to move it to landfill. Since both options have the identical amount of organic matter, they will produce identical amounts of methane.

I hope readers can see right through such hocus pocus marketing.

Does Lomi Make Plant-friendly Dirt?

It is interesting that on this website Lomi never claims to make compost, but they do make that claim in their videos. They come close by saying things like “Make composting convenient”, but I did not find a single clear statement where they say their machine makes compost. More on that later.

What they do say is that Lomi makes “dirt”, as in “With just the push of a button, you can turn your food waste into plant-friendly dirt”.

So what is dirt?

There is not one definition. Some say it is the spider webs, bits of soil, dead insects, pet hairs and human dead skin that you sweep up from floors. Historically dirt was another word for feces. I doubt Lomi wants to claim they make either of these types of dirt.

Dirt is also commonly used in place of the word soil, as in “you just dragged some dirt in from the garden” or “the carrots you just harvested are dirty”.

They claim that they make “Lomi soil“. Clearly they don’t make soil. Soil consists mainly of sand, silt and clay and Lomi can’t make these.

They go on to say “Lomi soil and compost have a lot of similarities.” To be honest their marketing is quite confusing. They clearly do not make soil. They also don’t think they make compost, although they claim to have the benefits of compost. I guess for them it is good enough to say that they make some type of Lomi “stuff”.

What does Lomi make? Like all other electronic composters, they make dried kitchen scraps.

Sodium is a Essential Plant Nutrient!


They claim, “There are at least three essential nutrients in each batch of Lomi soil that support your plant and soil health: Nitrogen, phosphorus and sodium….. Sodium supports the plant’s metabolism.”

Taken from Lomi website - I am sure they will update this as soon as they see my post.
Taken from Lomi website – I am sure they will update this as soon as they see my post.

Sodium is quite toxic to plants! It is clear that their marketing material has not been reviewed by anyone who knows about plants or soil.

Is Lomi Soil Good for Plants?

They claim the material that they produce (it is not soil) is good for plants and even say, “Over application of Lomi soil will not burn plant leaves or roots“.

They also say, “Apply Lomi soil at a 1:10 ratio to your soil”. In their videos they warn you not to use more than this.

So which is it? You should limit it’s use to 10%, but at the same time it “won’t burn leaves and roots”? If it won’t burn roots then you should be able to use more of it. In fact the standard compost test is to mix 50% with soil and then plant seeds in this mix. If the seedlings grow properly, it is finished compost.

The compost test is illustrated in this video for a different brand of electronic composter. I plan to redo this test with Lomi.

YouTube video

Does Lomi Compost Plastic?

They make a big deal about composting bioplastic but do they really compost it?

To be clear they only claim to compost Lomi Approved Plastic and they provide a list of such products. They say, “Lomi Approved products are non-food compostable products that can be efficiently broken down by Lomi and transformed into compost.”

You can only add small amounts of plastic (at most 10%) along with other kitchen scraps. When the process is complete, using the Lomi Approved mode which take 5-8 hours, you can place the material in the green bin. Why not add it to your plants or put it in the garden? If it was really composted, it would be safe for plants?

Bioplastics (compostable plastic) has to be composted in very special commercial composters that can operate at high temperatures. Most municipal composting facilities in North America can’t meet these requirements and don’t compost so-called compostable plastic, as I have explained in Is Compostable Plastic Really Compostable?

I asked Lomi about this – do they really compost bioplastics? This is what their Lead Technical Specialist said, “Processing these certified compostable products in Lomi accelerates the breakdown so they will turn to compost more efficiently when they end their life in a commercial/industrial compostable compost facility.” What? The plastic actually composts in the commercial composting facility and not in the Lomi as they claim?

Lomi does NOT compost bioplastics into dirt as they claim.

The Magic of Lomi Pods

There are numerous electronic composters on the market but Lomi is one of only a few that use pods or an equivalent product. This is what intrigued me about Lomi in the first place. Will the pods make that big of a difference?

Pods are small tablets that are described as “a proprietary blend of probiotics that improves the speed of degradation“. That is marketing speak for “microbes”.

You probably know that composting is really done by microbes. Adding extra microbes to the composter seems like a good idea. This is also coupled with a longer and cooler run cycle. The claim is that the extra microbes speed up composting and that compost is produced at the end of the cycle.

The claim is suspect for two main reasons.

  1. Composting is a slow process and even with lots of microbes in a compost pile it takes weeks or months, not a few hours. Even the most efficient, highly controlled systems take a couple of weeks.
  2. Kitchen scraps are covered with billions and billions of microbes already. Adding more to traditional composting does nothing.

Based on compost science, adding a pod should make no significant difference, but it might. So I asked Lomi for evidence of this claim. They either don’t have any or are unwilling to provide it.

Does Lomi Make Compost?

Lomi asks that question, “How Long Does It Take Lomi to Compost? “. They imply they compost, but they don’t call their finished product compost? Very strange!

They go on to say, “Many of the electronic countertop composters on the market today are, in fact, glorified food dehydrators.” I agree with this statement. These machines don’t make compost – they make dehydrated kitchen scraps. Is Lomi any different?

They say, “Lomi is different. Lomi provides everything your food waste needs to become strong fertilizer: microorganisms, heat, aeration, and moisture.”

First of all, there is no way this machine makes fertilizer. That claim is wrong.

Secondly, the machine dries the material, removing water in the process. The machine does NOT add moisture.

All of the electronic composters on the market provide microbes, heat and agitation which would help aerate the process. I am sure Lomi would claim that other machines don’t add microbes because they don’t use Lomi Pods (see above), but the food scraps put into these machines are naturally covered with billions of microbes. That is why it breaks down all on its own.

The only difference between Lomi and other machines is that Lomi adds extra microbes in the form of pods and their processing time is extended; 16-20 hours for Grow Mode instead of a 3-5 hour cycle for other brands.

Do these differences improve the process? That is the key question.

Unfortunately, Lomi provides no proof that there is any difference between their process and that of other units. They also have not provided independent studies that compare their own cycle with and without a pod.

Based on compost science adding more microbes will have a limited effect on the process. Extending the processing time will have a slight affect on the composting process but consider this; an efficient hot composting process takes weeks and even months. They claim to do it in under a day. If the extra time used by their unit really made a difference it would be very easy to show this with some simple laboratory testing – but the results of such testing are not available.

I doubt Lomi  makes compost because their cycle time is far too short, even with added pods. Lomi also seems unconvinced that they make compost because they keep referring to their end product as dirt or soil. They also limit the use of their “dirt” to 10% for growing plants. If it were true compost you would be able to use 50% or more.

Until Lomi, or someone else produces some test results, we have to assume they simply make dried kitchen scraps similar to other machines on the market.

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Robert Pavlis

I have been gardening my whole life and have a science background. Besides writing and speaking about gardening, I own and operate a 6 acre private garden called Aspen Grove Gardens which now has over 3,000 perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees. Yes--I am a plantaholic!

19 thoughts on “Lomi Electronic Composter – Are The Claims True?”

  1. I’ve thought similarly about the Lomi ever since I purchased mine. Some things that just didn’t add up with some of their marketing, and reading over everything. That being said, the final product has been fantastic for my worm bins, as I’ve been processing my browns and greens in Lomi’s normal mode, and then adding it to my bins. I’ve noticed the composting rate has increased exponentially with how much everything is already broken down.

    I’ve also experimented with adding some of the Lomi Garden Mode (or whatever it’s called) to various plants and such in my yard and garden to see if I notice any difference. While my plants don’t seem to be positively or negatively affected, the one thing that the “Lomi soil” seems to help is soil health. I had some dirt patches where the soil was too loose and didn’t take grass seed very well (any time the sprinklers came on or it rained, the seeds didn’t stand a chance and usually were uprooted and washed away). I used a compost trick and did more of a mulching effect with the Lomi soil (note, this was a mix of browns and greens, not just greens like Lomi suggests). The Lomi soil, once wet, almost created a protective barrier for the seeds and seemed to increase the stability of the dirt patches as time went on. I’m happy to report that the former patches are now completely grown in.

    Thing is, I could have likely done this with some other gardening tricks, but the Lomi soil at least looked like actual soil and seemed to provide solid results.

    Is the Lomi worth it? Without proof, I’m not totally sure. I like it for my worms, and it does seem to potentially have some positives, but the latter could have just been luck, too.

  2. My grade 7 daughter tested the Lomi and Lomi pods for these exact claims and the results appear to support Lomi. That said, a further study would need to be tested on a much larger scale and with more variety of seeds/plants to confirm it holds true. It was interesting though!

  3. I think these products are actually useful in certain situations (like mine). I live in NYC, and I am lucky enough to have a rooftop that I can access for compost at both my apartment as well as at the co-working space I run. But I am composting for 40 people(!), and my system just can’t keep up in the winter time. This seems like a realistic way to pre-compost and keep up with volume. Composting at all is pretty novel in urban office environments, and I think this is a good compromise.

  4. Hi Robert, thanks for this great article.
    I move to another city and now living an apartment, I am looking for such products and your article just save my money. I found there are another types of composter which work differently.

    The Reencle (https://reencleus.com) and GEME (https://www.geme.bio). Both of them are claiming using microbe and can do quick composting.
    The GEME is bigger and looks promised, they even made a 7 hours uncut video to prove the fast composting, it is really impressive.


    However, the only concern is there is not much reviews on the internet, maybe they are still in the early marketing.

    It will be interesting to read analysis for these new products, for they are not using grinding and dehydrating methods.

    • 1) I had a look at Reencle – they make claims and provide no studies to back them up. I requested their studies.
      2) Is Geme from a real company? They do have a web site – but no email address and no way to ask them a question! They too make claims with no supporting documents.

      There video is useless – who makes a 7 hr video? In the end they just have some ground up dried kitchen scraps. There is nothing in the video to lead you to a different conclusion.

      I am very interested in any scientific studies or testing these companies have done, but remember that your kitchen scraps are covered with billions and billions of microbes – you don’t have to add any more. Composting is a slow process. If a company has found microbes that compost much much faster, then you would think they have a study to verify that fact?

      The geme says, “Meet GEME, the easiest way to fight climate change and produce less waste” – that is false advertising – Lomi makes the same false claim.

      From what I saw they are using grinding – if you want to call it that. Actually none of the machines do grinding, at best it is gentle mixing and the video shows that they do this too.

      Geme also has their GEME-Kobold, “high-temperature-resistant complex of natural microflora” – why would it need to be high temp resistant if they don’t heat?

      • Hi Robert, thanks for your reply and your actions.

        True, I think they should have some studies to support if they claim that, but I don’t think they will put it publicly or share with others easily. Could be commerce secret or pattern protection.

        From the last few minutes of that 7 hours video, I think it is a little wet instead of dry. Base of my experience. Wet stuff is easier to form the ball shape while dry stuff is very difficult.

        I used to ask them and they told me that those balls are not the compost, but the remaining food waste. The compost are mixed in their so called GEME-Kobold “soil”, which is a little counterintuitive. But fair enough the remaining balls are much smaller than the original food waste size. So I tend to believe the reduced part has no way to go but mixed in the “soil”.

        The key is how they reduce the food waste.
        From an engineer’s perspective, it is quite hard to heat the food scraps in such a big volume container, the “soil” material is not a good heat conduction, and there should be steam observed as well. I saw some review videos, Lomi is producing the steam obviously. But this one does’t show any steam, and the gentle stirring no way to cut them into small pieces. That’s my assumption lead to my conclusion their break down way is not by heating and dehydrating.

        Oh, I also carefully study their long hours video playlist.
        In this video they get a temperature testing at 1:24:45
        https://youtu.be/Vm7GOKaOg68?list=PLVVx3CL9–hExY-tXcl-fVyDyx3sCdG49&t=5089 the degree is only around 40C. That is not high enough to cook the waste.

        Of course I won’t buy it now, for their team is quite a mystery as you mention, I will wait until they are available on Amazon, and yeah, their marketing is so far is very clumsy and they are imitating Lomi for some wording which is stupid.

        I am very interested to those products too. Well, I admit that I use to design and build a composting system for convenient purpose, but this one come to reality and looks much neater and better designed than my prototypes.

        • I actually contacted both companies in the last couple of days. Reencle sent some testing reports but does not seem to understand what compost is. They sent reports showing weight loss to confirm composting? Geme has not responded.

  5. Can so tell you are from Ontario (or even Quebec) when you refer to Hydro as for electricity, vs water (H20) that the term means to most in the world. All just because we live in one of the locals where Hydro power is a significant enough source that we call our electricity providers ‘Ontario Hydro’ (or ‘Hydro-Québec’) even though they aren’t our water provider.
    So you may have confused those readers from outside our area by using ‘hydro used’ when the real meaning is ‘electricity used’
    never mind how much of our Ontario power is really from Uranium 😉
    Always amazing how words get abused by the marketers, such a challenge to steer clear of those language abuses we’ve had beaten into our heads.

  6. Have you taken a look at the Reencle Food Recycler (https://reencleus.com/)? This is similar device which uses a proprietary microbe to aid in the decomposition process (though I read somewhere it’s just a bacillus species). I emailed their team and was told they use a wild-type microbe extracted from cheese and soybean, and is commonly used for decomposing food waste in Korea.
    Would be interested to read an analysis on this one!

  7. Robert…
    I totally forgot to say that once a week I deep stir the bokashi bucket and twice a month dump the entire contents outdoors, or garage if it’s bad weather, into a mortar hob (covered by cut to size window screen to keep the bugs out), stir it to mix, and let it sit out there for a couple of days and nights. Before I bring it back in, I squeeze to check the moisture adding shredded paper if too wet.

    Often, I find that I can just leave the materials out there. Usually this is the source materials I put into my indoor (basement) worm bins.

    Retired, I gotta have something to do.

    It’s all Happy! 🙂

  8. I never consider these hyped up food dehydrators – why on earth do you want to add dry ingredients to your compost bin and/or growing beds?

    The absolute Best (fastest) process I’ve found and use involves mixing Native Soil with Pureed greens and browns in a wrung out sponge moisture level and adding worms!

    I puree Everything! Particle size is of Vital Importance!

    Having mixed and added Native Soil with browns and greens (ratio is heavier on the browns side), I add those materials to my bin and. Wait at least a week before adding worms to allow the Native soil’s microbes to start working, the moisture to settle, and the initial heat to come back to a range between 55° to 75° that is favorable for the worms. Waiting 2 or 3 weeks is even better. Worms feed in bacteria while tunneling through materials leaving behind nutrient rich castings.

    Meanwhile, I make up my pureed pouches of browns and greens, drain well, put them in quart size baggies and freeze them. I add those frozen materials directly to my bin after removing the baggie.

    Finely shredded paper I add to maintain moisture control and provide bedding for the worms.

    If you want to compost in your kitchen, get a Bukashi bucket with top vent holes in the lid that has a fitted charcoal odor filter. Cover each add with a mixture of finely shredded paper and Native Soil which blocks odors.

    • “If you want to compost in your kitchen, get a Bukashi bucket with top vent holes in the lid that has a fitted charcoal odor filter.”

      Just to be clear – this would not be bokashi since it processes in an anaerobic environment.

    • I LOVE my worms too. I had to do something when I lived “north of sixty,” because there just weren’t enough warm days to compost outside. And of course there was the problem of grizzly bears. SO! Worms solved the problem. One large Rubbermaid tote bin took care of a family of 5 with no odor and great success in turning our suitable (no onions, meat, and so forth) kitchen scraps into a substance that could be incorporated into our garden beds.SO easy and the little wigglers are entertaining.

  9. Robert –

    Once again, you’ve ruined a wildly exaggerated set of marketing claims by demanding facts and proof. Seriously – if they had the facts and proof they would be doing science, not marketing. I think that scientific evidence and data based claims are difficult enough for most people, me included, to understand. Throw in mysterious organic chemistry claims, and most people are completely out of their depth. It appears that this upon which the makers of Lomi have hoped to capitalize. Thank you for helping make spurious claims clear.


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