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Dry leaves instead of paper?

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  • Dry leaves instead of paper?

    Hello! I'm only a week into using my hotbin - all is going well and it's nice and steamy

    However, I was just wondering if it would be possible to substitute other materials for paper as a 'drying agent'? Such as shredded, dried leaves, for example? It would be good to find something that doesn't include ink or bleach (and which I can get for free, of course!) I live somewhere with lots of trees and all my neighbours hate their mounds of leaves, so it would be easy for me to hoard huge amounts. But will they work as well as paper?

    Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  • #2
    Hi Bibis.
    I am fairly new to hot bin composting as well. I have just read on the hot in web site if leaves are good? It suggests that they are difficult and slow to break down and are not the best for hotbin composting. However they can be used in small quantities mixed with your general weekly waste.
    Have a look at the website and read up about them. I would put a link in if I could, but this is my first post and I am just finding my way around.
    Good luck with bin, I’m sure you’ll get on fine.


    • #3
      Hi Jondy and Bibbis,

      You can add leaves into the HOTBIN, but as Jondy says, we recommend adding them into the HOTBIN gradually and mixed in with other types of waste such as vegetable peelings as the peelings will help to generate the higher temperatures which should help to accelerate the leaves' rate of decomposition (please ensure that some bulking agent and shredded paper is also added with the new waste).

      To further assist with the breakdown of the leaves, if you can roughly chop or shred them (we go over them quickly with the lawnmower) before adding them to the HOTBIN, you should find that they break down more quickly and efficiently.


      • #4
        I think that Bibbis is asking if dried leaves can substitute for shredded paper. The answer is not really. The water content of normal tree leaves is relatively small and so the amount dried leaves can absorb when wetted is small as well.

        Egg cartons, thin corrugated card, typical mushroom cartons (at least the ones from Riverford (the organic veg people)) can (when chopped into stamp sized pieces) absorb a lot of moisture. I use a mix of card and shredded paper. I also try to control the amount of water in the kitchen waste by drying it somewhat. (- lemons, courgettes, tomatoes and cucumbers are > 90%+ water!)

        But then again I'm a scientist (and hence a nerd apparently) so I'm happy experimenting
        Last edited by DaveK; 08-15-2018, 08:51 PM.