Emptying the HotBin composter

The HotBin Mk1 compost bin was emptied yesterday. It had been used for composting food waste starting on 29 May 2020. A total of 78.85Kg of food preparation waste plus tea bags, coffee grounds and a small amount of cooked food had been added approximately every 2 weeks. Shredded paper and wood chips, to balance the C:N ratio and occasionally a couple of hands full of grass cuttings were also used to get things going.

That is not the ideal way to manage a HotBin, the makers say add 2.5Kg – 5 Kg weekly not the 10Kg-15Kg every 14-18 days that I had been doing. Although the contents were heating to 40C to 60C and the material composted quickly the temperature dropped when all the fuel was used. They are right of course, to keep the contents at an even hot temperature it is better to add a less material regularly and that is what I will be doing in future.

This is what I found when I removed the lid

Having admitted that I was not following the instructions how did it all work out? The overwhelming answer is very well! As I have kept records of how much and what went into the bin from 29 May to 8 October I know there that 78.85Kg was added and 63Kg of compost was produced, two good wheel barrows full! That’s 86.5% of the material added.

Now I call that a pretty good result especially as compost made with  food waste is rich in nutrients and it has inspired a new project!

The first few spades full removed from the bin

Compost worms at work in the top layer

The new Mk2 bin installed and waiting to be filled

First job is to install a new MK2 HotBin. It should be up and running in the next few days. The next part of the project is to clean out the old HotBin and reduce the amount of ventilation by blocking off the extra holes I drilled earlier in the year. After that it will be on a paving slab beside the new bin so the two can be run together.

I have been asked why I bother to compost kitchen waste when we have weekly collections by the local council. First, I do not want to give away such a valuable source of compostable material. Second, the aim is to make the house and garden as near zero waste as possible. In practice it means continually thinking about how we can reduce the amount of waste coming in and recycling everything we can.

See more here:
Composting kitchen waste
Composting kitchen waste updates January 2013
Composting kitchen waste trial – 6 years on

The usual disclaimer, we no associations with HotBin other than being satisfied customers.

We are running an online composting workshop on Thursday 22nd October, see further information here.