Whether you compost – and how you compost – depends on your needs and situation.
Different issues influence all our choices – space, household size, council collections, soil conditions, climate and the time we have available.
For those lacking the time and space for traditional composting, a new product claims to bridge the gap. The Lomi Smart Waste Kitchen Composter (£500) is a countertop unit that turns food scraps into garden compost in 16 hours.
Some customers have asked our views about the Lomi following an article in the Sunday Times (16.04.23) when journalist Louise Eccles, who describes herself as ‘an impatient gardener’, tried one out.
The Lomi, which is about the size of a bread machine, speeds up decomposition by heating the waste, circulating air and grinding it.
Louise’s verdict was: ‘It has produced a slightly moist pile of chunky compost that smells of fruit cake. It is a large and expensive piece of equipment to produce a rather modest pile of soil but, if you have the room, it is better than binning it or perhaps sending it off on a truck.’
We have never used a Lomi, but as we were curious we sifted through dozens of Amazon reviews from Canada, the US and Australia. These were the most common verdicts:
- No smells
- No flies (in some areas kitchen flies had previously been a major issue)
- It means you don’t have to go out to the garden composter in bad weather (ie, in Canada, that means digging through snow)
- Great for residents who live in apartments with no space to compost and are unhappy about putting food waste in general rubbish
- Great for areas with poor soil as the compost boosts soil quality (plants love the compost, apparently)
- Great for customers who felt too old to compost or had ‘no patience’ for it.
- The Lomi uses electricity but the company (Pela) says the amount of power needed is minimal. A 16-hour cycle costs 34p.
- The noise level is described in the Sunday Times article as a ‘quiet rumble’. For some customers this meant moving the unit to a garage or utility room.
- Many customers felt the benefits outweighed the expense.
Some customers said in reviews that they used the Lomi alongside their garden composter, adding the ‘dirt’ that is produced to their compost bin to act as an accelerator.
One reviewer felt the bucket wasn’t sufficient for larger families; in such cases using it alongside a standard kitchen caddy and adding the contents of both to a Green Johanna or Compost Tumbler sounds like a good working partnership.
One customer described using the unit on a short cycle to break down food waste, then adding this pre-compost mixture to a compost bin to continue breaking down into mature compost.
A review on the Epic Gardening website describes the compost produced by the Lomi as more ‘pre-compost’ than the finished article, but concludes the unit is good for:
- those living in regions where harsh winters make regular composting difficult
- those living in apartments
- introducing people to composting.
In the UK, if your local council is still a long way from introducing separate food waste collections, your food waste as general waste is currently going to landfill or incineration. So, if you lack the space or motivation for garden composting but are unhappy about food waste going in general waste, this could be something you want to research further.
- The Sunday Times article also refers to councils which subsidise garden composters in order to reduce the amount of food waste they have to dispose of, such as the Surrey Council campaign which means residents can buy a Green Johanna for £80. Just this short mention led to a dramatic increase in orders of Green Johannas from Surrey and other local authority campaigns.