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FAREWELL HOTBIN

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  • FAREWELL HOTBIN

    I give up. Since May, I've been trying to keep the hotbin consistently hot enough, without success. I've sourced shredded office paper (which is the wrong sort of shredded, so I sit in the kitchen cutting it up smaller); I add cardboard (torn up into small enough pieces - what a lot of Radio 4 I've listened to); I've sourced twiggy bits from a neighbour's garden (creeping around in the rain with my secateurs); I've bought 2 bags of bulking agent (yet more expense); all our compost gets cut up into little pieces (time and inconvenience); neighbours give me their grass which I dry for several days in a covered passage before adding to the hotbin (a real pest); I've restarted it 3 times, each time being more and more generous with paper etc.; I've repeatedly used the kickstart bottle. The bin has occasionally got up to 50c, but it stays more around 20 - 30c. I've finally decided, am I mad? It's meant to compost my kitchen waste, not be a half-time job. Nor I am prepared to go out and buy chicken pellets to make compost. After all, the whole point of it had been to cut up my partner and compost him in the bin but, with it running well below optimum, I'm aware the resulting compost wouldn't be hygienic. So, the hotbin's been emptied for the last time and its cleaned carcass has been donated to a local eco-centre and my partner is making me a cup of tea.

  • #2
    How are you (or were you) measuring the temperature? If you're using the thermometer in the lid, there's no way that'll get up above 40C unless your bin is nearly full. The lid thermometer is not at all a good measure of how hot your bin is working. You need the second thermometer that you stick into the top layer of the waste itself - THAT is the one that should read between 40 and 60C.

    There is nothing better than grass clippings for getting things hot. My bin had cooled to about 35C due to lack of new waste recently, but I mowed the lawn yesterday and put one full mower bagful of clippings into the bin. I've just looked, and only 24 hours later the top layer of waste is at a slightly scary 65C.

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    • #3
      See my post under "Am I Composting at the Right Temperature (Celsius or Fahrenheit)?". Hope it helps.

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      • #4
        Farewell Hotbin - hello neighbour - small page resonates - my neighbour had exactly the same experince and gave up. The good news ( i think) is that she gave the bin to me! I already successfully run a range of standard bins, worm and bokashi. Hotbin fired up rapidly with grass, kitchen waste, paper, bulking agent ( expensive!) and a handful of amonium sulphate. Five days good heat ( turned every other day) , then stopped. Now stone cold!

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        • #5
          My suggestion would be that it now needs feeding again with some more stuff ADM! Sounds to me like you've had a really good start - do keep going and don't get disheartened. Also I realised I needed to keep checking that the valve in the lid wasn't open too much and that (cold) air couldn't get in anywhere else either. I also realised that every time I opened the lid to put stuff in/check how things were, I was sometimes leaving it open too long and not being mindful of how much heat would be lost. I've now learnt to be as quick as possible, and to mix things up first in a trug or similar before adding to the hotbin.

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          • #6
            ADM Hope you didn't give up! I'm struggling a bit too but am v interested you managed with Bokashi--my Bokakshi just ended up smelly and with white mould which they said was BAD! Alas I now have white mould in my Hot Bin! I am shredding paper like mad. Does anyone have an idea of how to make bulking agent?

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            • #7
              My garden is overhung with neighbours trees on both sides and I get a lot of leaf fall. I bag it up the following spring. Before I bought the Hotbin, I was planning to use it mixed in with Dalek made compost after two years of it rotting down. Now it is going to be my bulking agent when the bag supplied is empty.

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