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New Smart Food Waste Composters Allow for Easy, At-Home Composting

New Smart Food Waste Composters Allow for Easy, At-Home Composting

Smart food waste composters allow users to turn food scraps into compost in a matter of days.


No matter how hard consumers try, they are bound to create food waste. To ensure it doesn’t end up in landfills, many cities offer green bin programs with curbside food waste pickup. But those left without city-run programs had few other fast and convenient options, until now. Smart food waste composters help users turn food scraps into compost much faster than traditional composting. So, how do they work and who are some of the players on the market?

Unlike traditional composting, which can take up to months to break down food waste, smart food waste composters use internal compressors and grinders to break down the food in a matter of days. They often have sensors that monitor the internal environment to stimulate microbe and nutrient growth, hence where the prefix “smart” comes in.

Some smart food waste composters come in conveniently-sized countertop systems, while others resemble garbage bins or sit under the sink. Since the technology is relatively new, many systems are still in development or are just beginning to ship out to their first customers. Here are a few early entrants to the market that could make composting a much more viable option to millions of consumers.

The Lomi

The Lomi is a countertop device that converts food scraps into compost using a combination of heat, oxygen and abrasion. With the push of a button, The Lomi produces compost in less than a day, and even features an Express mode which converts waste into “neutral natural fertilizer” within six hours. It not only works with food scraps, but also a small list of approved plastics using its Bioplastics mode.


Related: OLIO: The Food Sharing App That is Tackling Food Waste


Pela, the brand behind The Lomi, likened the size of the device to that of a bread box. In order to reduce odor, The Lomi uses a carbon filter that needs to be replaced every three to six months. 

When it launched earlier this year, the smart food waste composter broke the record for the most-backed product in the food waste category with nearly 19,000 backers and almost $7 million in raised funds. The Lomi can be purchased for $399 on Indiegogo and the company will begin shipping in January 2022.

KALEA

Unlike The Lomi, the KALEA sits on the floor and resembles a small garbage can. It is comprised of two components: the upper chamber, where the food is shredded and the moisture is removed; and the second chamber, where the food is turned into compost. With optimal temperature, humidity and oxygen levels, food waste is converted into compost within 48 hours and dropped into a collection tray.

While it didn’t raise as much as The Lomi, the smart food waste composter still raised nearly $700,000 by 995 backers when it first launched on Kickstarter. It also raised another $800,000 by nearly 1,300 backers through an Indiegogo campaign. Unfortunately, those interested in purchasing the KALEA will have to wait until July 2022, and it will set buyers around $850.

Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50

Known for its home blenders, Vitamix announced it would be releasing a smart food waste composter called the FoodCycler FC-50 last summer. The device, whose size is mid-way between The Lomi and the KALEA, can process a bucket of food scraps in four to eight hours. In addition to produce scraps, the unit can also process meat, dairy and even bones from fish or chicken.

The FC-50 breaks down food waste into a tenth of its original volume and creates a nutrient-rich fertilizer. It has a carbon filtration system that eliminates odors, making it fit for indoor use.

While many smart composters are being developed by startups, Vitamix is a well-known brand in the food industry and the FC-50 is readily available for purchase. As one of the cheaper options on the market, the device costs $399 and can be purchased on Vitamix’s website or on Amazon for $20 less.