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February 1, 2023

Probably the Coolest, Science-y Thing you can Do with your Food Scraps.

This post is written with gratitude for Lomi. They’re a team of innovators designing waste out of the human experience, and I’m honored to brag about them. ~Marisa, ed.

~

I’m the girl that says an energetic apology to molded vegetables and fruits as I pull them from my fridge and toss them into the trash.

It makes my heart heavy. Why? Years ago, I learned that food waste is a huge contributor to our planet’s climate crisis.

Over 119 billion pounds of food is wasted in the United States alone. It doesn’t get a chance to nourish our bodies; it only gets a chance to contribute to the methane gas that is eating away at our ozone layer and contributing to an accelerated rate of global warming (1).

And when we waste all that food, all of the byproducts of the energy used to produce, transport, and handle it goes to waste, too. 170 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, to be precise. That’s equivalent to the emissions of 42 coal-fired power plants. Yikes! (2)

In short, food waste is fueling one of the biggest crises our planet has recently faced. And, until recently, I’ve felt hopeless about it.

The day I learned the word Lomi, my whole disposition changed.

In Hawaiian culture, lomi is a method of preparing food by hand by rubbing or pressing ingredients together. In the Philippines, lomi is a dish made with a variety of ingredients containing egg noodles, vegetables, meats, and more.

But despite my love of island life and delicious food, those words and their definitions alone were not the cause of my changing attitude toward food waste.

Lomi is also the name of a countertop composting machine from Pela (you know, the makers of those super cool compostable phone cases), and it changes your food remnants from scrap to soil—in just hours.

Meet Lomi: The counter-top composter of every apartment dweller’s dreams >>

Just like the culinary meanings of the word, Lomi is all about breaking, “rubbing,” and “pressing” a variety of ingredients like grain, veggie, and meat scraps together to turn our trash into garden-nourishing treasure. Lomi even has specific “recipes” it recommends for desired end results.

As an apartment dweller, I’ve often felt like there wasn’t much I could do about my food scraps. I don’t have a backyard in which I can compost, so I’d have to toss all my food waste into the trash—unless I found actually successful ways to reuse food scraps in tasty zero-waste recipes.

Needless to say, when I heard about Lomi, I was pretty psyched about it and wanted desperately—and I mean desperately— to get my hands on one. I may or may not have begged the company for a press sample to land on my doorstep. (Okay, I definitely begged.)

Land it did in October, and I am in love. Since its arrival, I’ve been using Lomi a ton, seeing how often I fill it up, and experimenting with how I deal with the dirt-y byproduct so that I could give you all a thorough and honest review (a rant of love is more like it).

Because honestly, as we inch toward our planet’s oblivion, degree by degree, it’s my belief that everyone who can should get their hands on one of these and leave just a little less of a footprint in the muck of food waste’s pollution problem.

Here were my biggest curiosities as I prepared for Lomi’s arrival. Hopefully they help inspire you to bring a Lomi into your life (and be just a bit more of a Zerohero).

How long does it take to fill up the bucket?

As a family of one and a half (my pilot partner is home half-time), it takes me about two weeks to fill my Lomi bucket.

I’ve filled it with everything from pumpkin carving innards to the solid remnants remaining after making a broth from my food scraps. But most often, I toss in dinner prep trimmings when we get “lazy” and don’t make anything from the scraps. Coffee grounds are a regular addition in the mornings.

Even the solids featured in the moldy science experiment in the back of my fridge are free game for Lomi. I just strain liquids from them and plop the remnants in right before running the machine.

Transform your Refrigerator Science Experiments into Gardening Gold—in hours >>

Does it smell while it fills?

Honestly? When I once let food sit in it for two-weeks to fill the machine, there was a bit of a musty odor whenever I unlocked and opened the lid, but it was surprisingly minimal and went away quickly once the lid was closed.

Silly me, though. Because those scraps can actually be stored in the freezer until ready to countertop compost—just as if you were going to make broth from them (duh). As for when the machine runs? No. Zero smell. Just the magical whir of Lomi doin’ its Earth-saving thang.

How much dirt does it make, and what can I do with it?

There’s a limit to how much soil we need to place in our houseplants or even our garden—especially in the winter months when our garden plants are hibernating or flat-out dead.

I’ve been collecting the Lomi dirt into a plastic bag that I keep sealed outside on my patio with my other soils. Usually that amount is about a quarter of the bucket’s depth, or what I’d estimate is probably three to four cups.

Soon, I’ll start calling friends to see if anyone has a garden they’d like to use the dirt in; and once I land somewhere a bit more permanent, I’ll likely contact a local community garden to see if they’d like a monthly deposit of nutrient-rich soil.

The possibilities are endless. And, to tell the truth, it’s been a lot easier to be aware of my food waste, focus on not buying too much produce, and make sure I eat my way through any leftovers before cooking a new meal with Lomi sitting in a prominent spot on my countertop. It’s even sparked some creative cooking (my three favorite “food waste” recipes will be coming your way soon).

You could say Lomi’s become a kitchen guardian in white that brings new life to foods that pass their prime or that are diced to give nourishment to me and mine. It’s a kitchen angel, in my book.

Lomify your Kitchen and Zero-in on Lower-Waste Living >>

~

Resources:
https://www.feedingamerica.org/our-work/reduce-food-waste
https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2022/01/24/food-waste-and-its-links-greenhouse-gases-and-climate-change

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