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You’ve got a dishwasher, microwave, and toaster. Soon, you might have a countertop composter.

A company named Pela is making an appliance called Lomi that turns everyday food scraps into dirt overnight.

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“It was a crazy idea three years ago,” started Matt Bertulli, CEO of Pela. “Food waste is such a huge climate problem… food in landfills just produces methane… methane is just like lighter fluid for the atmosphere… it’s terrible.”

The countertop composter is simple. Just fill up the bucket inside with food you might typically toss into the trash. It works with anything that will break down, like bits of fruit, veggie peels, coffee grounds and even some paper.

“The machine itself has a bunch of sensors and software in it that monitors humidity, heat oxygen… so we can kind of design the environment for breakdown,” said Bertulli.

Once you’re finished putting in food waste, add some water and a special tablet loaded with bacteria. This helps Lomi speed up the natural process that takes Mother Nature longer to do.

“You turn it on when you go to sleep…. Kind of what you do with your dishwasher … and while it’s running, effectively it’s taking all that and it’s turning it into usable dirt,” said Bertulli.

Once inside, scraps are agitated, heated and more. The $500 machine has just one button that lets you select a cycle that lasts between 4 and 20 hours. While it was running, the machine was quiet and there was no discernable smell.

I was skeptical, but when I opened the machine after 24 hours, the food scraps inside had been transformed into something that looked more like something you would put a the bottom of a hamster cage. The material was dry and fine.

Bertulli says it’s compost ready to be tossed into a flower bed, garden, or green recycling bin.

“It’s getting it to a place where it can be added into existing environments and that’s keep it out of landfill, and that’s a huge win,” concluded Bertulli.

The Lomi is $500 and just beginning to ship to early supporters of the technology. If successful, this simple machine could have a significant impact on our environment.

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