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HotBin frustration!

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  • HotBin frustration!

    I’ve had a HotBin for a year and still haven’t had a decent heap of compost. The first heap was just passable. The second heap was anaerobic, despite putting in paper, bulking agent and hot bottle. On the third attempt the bin was cleaned out and dried, small sticks and shredded office paper put in the base followed by a 50/50 mix of kitchen waste and shredded office paper and cardboard and small amount of bulking agent. The result was a wet smelly mix. So I cleaned out the bottom and mixed it with more paper and put it back. Cleaned out most of the top and mixed that with more paper and card. Put the hot bottle in and covered it with the mix and some shredded paper on top. Next day it was barely warm.
    I’ve come to the conclusion that I bought the bin under the illusion that it was going to be an easy and quick way to make compost. Clearly it isn’t, just very frustrating!
    I’m going to give it one more try. If it fails again then I guess my options are to keep an expensive storage bin, find a buyer or make a trip to the recycling centre. Meanwhile I’m setting up a second wooden compost bin as I always get results from that.


  • #2
    My very inexpert opinion is that you just are not getting sufficient air flow through your compost. When I use the kick start bottle, I get a fairly rapid temperature rise. I put that down to air flowing up through the compost.
    I suggest you carry on trying using more bulking agent and ensuring you are maintaining a good chimney effect.

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    • #3
      Thanks for that. I tried doing that yesterday. The bin is about 3/4 full so I took out about 3/4 of that and mixed it with bulking agent giving it all a good stir as it went back in and covering the replenished hot bottle. I have looked today and the temperature is 10deg. There is some leachate visible on the slab the bin is sat on but nothing near the amount there has been in the past so doubt the mix is too wet. I took the charcoal bag out of the lid yesterday, it wasn’t sopping wet but left it out to help airflow. I noticed today that the inside of the lid was wet so maybe that was caused by the rise it temperature yesterday when the bottle went in. The vent is open 2mm as recommended.
      I’m no brain of Britain , but I do have a science degree . I just do not know how to get that bin going ( apart from down the road!)

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      • #4
        Here I am again, just as frustrated! Yesterday I cleaned out the bin and refilled with a small stick layer, well mixed kitchen waste/shredded card/paper/ bulking agent and the hot bottle. That took the fill just above door level, in anticipation of filling it a bit more today. But today the bin is not hot so I’ve put a bit more fresh kitchen waste mixed with chicken pellets. Here’s hoping.

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        • #5
          Update. The HotBin is cold again. Have refilled the hot bottle, given the contents a good stir and added a small amount of kitchen waste with some shredded card.
          if anybody has any suggestions they would be most welcome!

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          • #6
            Is the leachate full? Try leaving the cap off if you can to encourage air flow

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            • #7
              I understand your frustration as have been there myself! I've had loads of good compost since June when I started. It seems for me necessary to remove mature compost about every 6-8 weeks. I found that quite tricky as I find when I get to the back of the wedge the top partially decomposed falls in and makes quite a mess. I realise now with the benefit of hindsight that I had probably left too much residue leading to clogging of the air conduits. The temperature was fine in the summer but has been much more difficult in the winter. I had no leachate initially but now have masses. I have added a hot water bottle every day for the last month but still around 20-25 C only on the lid thermometer. Yesterday I cleaned out the whole bin removed about 50 L of stickyish but good compost. Found base plate completely clogged with debris so cleaned this thoroughly(each hole separately unplugged all 192!) then rinsed under the tap . Also thoroughly drained reservoir and cleaned out accumulated sludge Added 20L of shredded cardboard 10 L of twiggy wood shavings/bulk and replaced semi-digested 50L or so of residual compost . Today temp has risen to 38C so I am feeling a little more optimistic. I would be very interested to hear of your further progress

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