Turning Your Kitchen Scraps into Composting Gold: Lomi vs. Vitamix Composters
Every day, homeowners around the globe contribute to the landfill problem by throwing their kitchen scraps in the trash. What if, instead of contributing to the problem, we could become part of the solution – all within the comfort of our own kitchens? Welcome to the world of indoor composting.
Composting is not just an earth-friendly practice but also a means to enrich the soil in our gardens, reduce waste, and create a healthier living environment. Now, imagine enjoying these benefits without having to leave your kitchen. And as Chicagoans with very little outdoor space (just a small balcony), we’re always looking for ways to use technology to make up the need for outdoor gardening space.
Among the champions leading the charge in the indoor composting revolution are two standout players: Lomi and Vitamix (FoodCycler) composters. Both promise to turn kitchen scraps into nutrient-rich compost in a few short hours, right on your countertop. But which one is truly the cream of the proverbial crop?
Benefits of Composting
Before we dive into our comparison, it’s worth briefly reminding ourselves of the reasons why composting should be on our radar. Composting is an earth-friendly practice that transforms organic waste into a nutritious amendment for soil. It not only enhances the vitality of the soil but also promotes the growth of robust plants, minimizing the reliance on synthetic fertilizers. Furthermore, by composting, we decrease methane emissions from landfills, contributing to the fight against climate change.
Indoor composting takes this a step further by bringing the process into the heart of your home – your kitchen. It’s convenient, typically reduces foul odors, saves space, and provides a continual supply of compost for indoor plants or small gardens.
Wait – Is It Actually Compost?
One thing that’s a little bit misleading about these kitchen-top composters is that they don’t actually make compost. Although countertop composting machines like Lomi and the Vitamix FoodCycler contribute to waste reduction, they don’t technically produce compost in the traditional sense. These machines function more like a hybrid between a food dehydrator and a grinder, reducing food scraps into a dehydrated form – but not producing true compost or soil.
Real compost requires microbial action and time to convert organic waste into humus, a stable soil component that offers an ideal plant-growing medium. The output from Lomi or Vitamix FoodCycler is different and can’t be directly used as a growing medium in pots or garden beds.
However, these machines do produce a product that can be beneficial when used correctly. In particular, the Lomi device has a “Grow” mode that creates a product closer to actual compost. This product can be blended with soil at a recommended ratio of 1 part Lomi output to 10 parts soil for plant cultivation.
To enhance the process and end result, it’s advised to add Lomi Pods to each “Grow” cycle. These small tablets, created from Lomi’s unique probiotic blend, are designed to expedite the degradation process and enrich the end product with nutrients and beneficial microbes for plant health. A pack of Lomi Pods is included with the purchase of a Lomi, but you’ll have to buy more on your own after that.
Lomi and Vitamix: A Head-to-Head Comparison
Pela’s Lomi and Vitamix’s FoodCycler are pioneers in indoor composting, each with unique features and potential drawbacks.This article compares the features, functionality, and overall performance of the Lomi and Vitamix composters. We will evaluate the pros and cons of each device to help you decide which product best fits your space and indoor composting needs.
Before we go further, I want to point out that Pela sent us one of their Lomi’s to test out in our home. While we are grateful for the gift, we will only be providing our own thoughts and opinions of this product, and we have not been paid to write a positive review.
An Overview Of the Lomi Composter
The Lomi composter is a countertop appliance developed by Pela, a company committed to addressing environmental challenges through innovative product design. This device is an attempt to significantly reduce global waste, with a targeted goal of eliminating over 10 billion pounds. That is a ton of waste!
Some key milestones in Lomi’s history include:
- In 2008, the company’s founder, Jeremy Lang, decided to research alternative materials to plastic due to the alarming impact of plastic pollution he witnessed during a vacation in Hawaii.
- Lang launched Pela in 2011 from his garage in Saskatchewan, introducing the world’s first compostable phone case. Currently, Pela’s phone case has been adopted by nearly 2 million users. Side note – if you have one of these phone cases, please let us know about it in the comments!
- In 2018, Pela expanded its focus to include food waste, opening a new headquarters in Kelowna, BC, and devoting resources to developing a home composting solution.
- The result of these efforts was the Lomi Composter, officially launched on Earth Day in 2021 and became a highly successful crowdfunded environmental product.
- By 2022, Lomi had been adopted by over 100,000 households, contributing to the diversion of up to 17 million pounds of food waste from landfills.
The Lomi Composter is designed to transform food waste into compost, promoting the recycling of nutrients back into the soil. The device uses a combination of heat, abrasion, and oxygen to break down organic waste within a typical kitchen setting.
Furthermore, according to their website, using Lomi for a year can potentially offset environmental impacts equivalent to those created by powering a gasoline car for 576 miles, burning 257 pounds of coal, or charging a smartphone 28,221 times. This indicates the potential environmental benefits that can be realized through the utilization of a home composting solution like Lomi.
How Does The Lomi Composter Work?
Lomi’s composting system has three preset programs, which you can select with the push of a button: Eco-Express, Lomi Approved, and Grow Mode. Here’s a quick info dump on what these each are for:
- Eco-Express Mode: A solution for rapidly reducing waste volume – this is usually what we use for food waste in our home
- Lomi Approved Mode: This mode is designed specifically to decompose bioplastics
- Grow Mode: A longer cycle that produces nutrient-rich compost ready for use in gardening or planting.
Each mode goes through three distinct stages, designed to ensure maximum decomposition efficiency.
In the first two stages are heating and grinding, which happen simultaneously. This is because it’s easier for microorganisms to break down small pieces (rather than larger ones).
The final stage is a cycle of heating and cooling that provides optimal conditions for the decomposition of food. This cycle is crucial in ensuring the system completes composting and doesn’t just grind and heat the waste.
Lomi’s inbuilt sensors measure moisture and temperature within. These readings and a ventilation system that ensures a continuous airflow create ideal conditions for accelerating the natural decomposition process. Each preset mode (Eco-Express, Grow, and Lomi Approved) completes this process within varying time intervals, depending on the type and quantity of waste and the desired end product.
Traditional composting generally occurs over three main stages: the mesophilic (moderate-temperature) phase, the thermophilic (high-temperature) phase, and a final cooling phase. Normally, these phases can take several months to complete. Lomi can accomplish all of these stages in just a few hours. Not too shabby if you ask me.
An Overview Of the Vitamix Composter
The Vitamix® FoodCycler® FC-50 is a food waste recycler that offers an effective solution to the growing issue of food waste. With the goal of creating a sustainable and efficient recycling process, this appliance takes a unique approach to food waste management.
Here are some important points about the FoodCycler FC-50:
- The FoodCycler FC-50 transforms food scraps into a nutrient-rich soil additive in just a few hours, providing an efficient alternative to traditional composting methods that can take weeks or even months.
- With its ability to reduce food waste volume by up to 90%, the FoodCycler FC-50 can help households significantly reduce their contribution to landfill waste.
- The device is equipped with a specially formulated carbon filter that eliminates odors and harmful methane gases, making it suitable for indoor use.
- In addition to vegetable and fruit scraps, the FoodCycler FC-50 can also process meat, dairy products, pet food, and small bones from fish or chicken, adding to its versatility.
- The FoodCycler FC-50 replaces the Vitamix FC-30 and comes with several improvements over the previous model, including processing time, filter life, and a lid for the bucket.
- The FoodCycler FC-50 is energy-efficient, using less electricity than a small microwave oven.
Vitamix’s FoodCycler FC-50 provides a practical and sustainable solution for managing food waste. Its ability to convert food scraps into nutrient-rich soil amendment contributes to a greener, more eco-friendly way of living. Its efficient, user-friendly design and compact size make it a worthwhile addition to any kitchen.
How The Vitamix Composter Works
The Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50 is an advanced composting system designed to transform food waste into a nutrient-rich soil amendment in hours (not weeks or months), offering a practical, eco-friendly alternative to traditional composting.
The process begins with the collection of food waste in a removable bucket, which is designed to be kept in your kitchen for convenient access while preparing meals. This bucket can easily be moved around the kitchen – from countertop to sink – and it comes with a lid that keeps the cast-iron bucket odor-free and suitable for indoor use. The bucket is also dishwasher-safe, making cleaning simple and hassle-free.
Once the bucket is full, it is placed into the FoodCycler FC-50 unit. By pressing the power button, the FoodCycler starts its composting operation. The unit quietly agitates the food waste while also aerating and heating it. This action not only breaks down the food waste but also sterilizes it, thus preventing the growth of bacteria and pathogens.
The Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50 is equipped with a specially formulated carbon filter that eliminates odors and any harmful methane gases that may arise during the composting process. This makes the FoodCycler suitable for indoor use, including under the sink or in a utility room.
The process takes between four and eight hours, after which the food scraps are converted into a dry, odorless powder. This substance, known as a soil amendment, can be mixed directly into the garden as a nutrient-rich fertilizer.
The Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50 can handle a variety of food waste, including fruit and vegetable scraps, meat, dairy products, pet food, and even small bones from fish or chicken. This makes it an excellent choice for those looking for an easy and effective way to minimize food waste from their meals.
Additionally, the FoodCycler FC-50 is energy-efficient, using less electricity than a small microwave oven, further contributing to its environmentally friendly profile.
Comparing Lomi and Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50
So now that we’ve laid out the overall functionality of these two composters, let’s compare them.
The Lomi has a capacity advantage, holding half a liter more than the FoodCycler, with a total capacity of 12.68 cups or three liters for food waste.
The Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50 has a capacity of approximately 10.5 cups or 2.5 liters, making it able to process a significant amount of kitchen waste at a time. The FoodCycler is compact and requires only one cubic foot of space and a power outlet.
All this said, it’s important to point out that you should only fill either composter to about ¾ full.
Winner: Toss Up
First off, let’s just be clear and say that both of these products are a bit bulky on a counter. In terms of sizing (measured), the Lomi’s dimensions are 14″ W x 12″ D x 12″ H, while the Vitamix’s dimensions are 11″ W x 12.25″ D x 14.25″ H.
The Lomi is wider (14″ vs 11″) and has the same depth as the Vitamix (both 12″), but the Vitamix is taller (14.25″ vs 12″).
So, considering which one takes up more counter space (width x depth), the Lomi would be larger. However, if you’re looking at overall volume or considering space constraints vertically (height), the Vitamix is larger.
The differences are pretty minuscule, though. Both products will take up about the space of a countertop microwave.
Power and Efficiency
Winner: Lomi (unless you exclusively use it in “Grow Mode”)
For the Lomi, every cycle consumes between 0.6 and 1 kWh of power, translating to approximately 14-24 cents per use for an average American household. Here’s the breakdown of the kilowatt cost per mode:
- Eco Express: Under 0.60kWh
- Lomi Approved: Under 0.75KWh
- Grow Mode: Around 1 KwH
Assuming you use the Lomi two times per week, you’ll likely spend under $1 a week and under $4 per month. That’s not a massive investment for so much compost.
The FoodCycler uses about .85 kWh per processing cycle. This is still incredibly energy efficient.
The current list price of the Lomi is $499, while the FoodCycler is $340. There are currently a lot of Lomi discounts in the wild, though, so the prices are much more comparable than it initially seems.
Ease Of Use
Winner: Toss Up
Both products basically start with the push of a button. Lomi has a few more options depending on what you are composting, but this is more of a feature, in my opinion.
Winner: Toss Up
The Lomi might be just a hair louder than the Vitamix, but it’s pretty inconsequential.
Handling Different Types Of Waste (e.g., food scraps, yard waste)
Winner: Toss Up
I’ve added a table below on the basics of what you can and cannot put in the Lomi and FoodCycler. I should point out that there are some caveats, and you should take a look at the guides for specific situations:
When in doubt, a simple Google search can help get you a quick answer.
Winner: Toss Up
The Lomi uses activated charcoal to control odors effectively. The Vitamix FoodCycler uses a carbon filtration system to do the same thing. Both systems have little to no smell, and it’s a far better smell than traditional composting.
That said, you’ll need to be diligent about replacing your filters to keep the smells from becoming too much.
Winner: Lomi (but only in Eco-Express Mode)
While both products take considerably less time than traditional composting, the Lomi has the fastest mode.
The Eco-Express mode only lasts four hours, less than the eight hours needed for the FoodCycler.
The other two modes for Lomi, Lomi Approved and Grow Mode, take 10 and 20 hours, respectively.
When compared, both the Lomi and the FoodCycler have a lot of similarities and a few differences. The most significant difference is that the Lomi has a few unique modes, allowing it to compost more than just foods – and it can produce a “Lomi dirt” in the Grow Mode that’s the closest to actual compost. The most significant factor for FoodCycler is the price. But again, there are so many discounts available for the Lomi that the prices can be very similar.
In the end, it comes down to your personal preference. What did you decide for your own home composting needs? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!