MUCH LIKE IN any major city, living in New York poses certain challenges when trying to deal with food waste. I’ve experimented with a few cooking alternatives in an effort to become savvier with scraps — a pulled pork alternative with banana peels, or a flavorful stock from onion ends — but I don’t always find myself with the extra time (or fridge space) to accommodate such projects. Without the outdoor space required to set up functional compost bins, or proximity to a compositing site, I found myself searching for eco-conscious areas where I could reduce my carbon footprint. This is where a recent anniversary gift comes in: Lomi.
The Lomi countertop composter turns messy food waste into odor-free, usable dirt that’s great for houseplants, gardens, and your own peace of mind. Its sleek design feels reminiscent of the space age, with soft curves and an ovoid lid that moves elegantly like the butterfly doors of a supercar. It’s an aesthetic pick for the kitchen from a company focused on the future. Pela, the makers of Lomi, are on a mission to make sustainable, eco-friendly products the new normal. The Lomi allows your would-be waste to have a second life in a truly immediate and tangible way. As somebody who’s gotten into collecting and nurturing houseplants (probably a little too much), it’s been a gratifying experience to be able to generate my own soil. I’ve even shared some of the end product in my parents’ garden.
Setup is easy: there are two filters, one in the back and one on top, that you load with the activated charcoal provided. Once in place, collect your food scraps in the metal bucket, pop in a “LomiPod” to help break down your bounty, close the lid, select your desired program, and hit go. The default setting — Eco-Express mode — is capable of breaking down most food waste, yard trimmings, and other organic matter, and can be completed in about 3–5 hours. This may seem like a long time, but given how quietly Lomi runs, it’s definitely a set-it-and-forget-it experience.
Despite the machine’s larger size, the inner workings move slowly, producing a low hum (rather than the familiar vroom of your favorite large blender). The gentle purr is easily drowned out by a television in another room, light music, or the casual chaos of the city streets below. Lomi is also capable of breaking down certain bioplastics within 5–8 hours when operated on the second setting — Lomi Approved mode. Finally, Grow mode takes anywhere from 16–20 hours to complete a cycle, but runs at a lower heat, which preserves the microorganisms and bacteria that are beneficial to soil.
On its longest setting, the Lomi uses only 1 kWh per cycle, meaning your electric bill will hardly feel a thing. (For comparison, your oven runs at approximately 2.3 kWh per hour of use.) Cleanup and maintenance are a breeze. The machine is capable of running a few cycles back-to-back. But when the time comes, simply remove the bucket and toss in the dishwasher.
No matter which mode you find best fits your lifestyle, the global impact of such a device goes a long way, and is certainly something to feel good about. While taking up minimal space in my home, Lomi has allowed me to reduce the amount of food that I’m tossing into the landfill. I genuinely love my Lomi. Its modern alchemy turns kitchen trash into endless treasure.
Lisa Lok Illustrator
Lisa Lok is an art director at Departures. A Brooklyn-based creative, she enjoys collaborating with illustrators and photographers from around the world. Her work can be found in the pages of Airbnb Magazine, NYLON, and Asia Society Magazine, among others.
Ahonen & Lamberg Illustrator
Ahonen & Lamberg is a multidisciplinary design studio based in Paris. Founded in 2006 by Finnish designers Anna Ahonen and Katariina Lamberg, the studio concentrates on art direction, creative consultancy, and graphic design.