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Any tips for emptying the Hotbin?

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  • Any tips for emptying the Hotbin?

    I find it quite difficult to empty the Hotbin, specifically the back part. I can dig out the bottom front section very easily into a skip, but the back gets more and more solid because I struggle to get it out. Often I find that the stuff above the front part falls down before I have cleared the back. Is there any technique to getting the compost out of the back without emptying the whole bin?

  • #2
    You are not alone. I also found that the stuff at the back became compacted so that I could not get new stuff in at the top. I asked the HotBin team but their advice didn't help, nor their 'surprise' that I had what I presumed a common problem. I have now solved the problem by unloading the bin and reloading it with mor bulking agent. Within 36 hours it had soared to an alarming 80c but has now come back to 65c and seems to be working well. I wish they could acknowledge this small problem. Re packing is neither onerous nor unpleasant. It took me about 15 mins.

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    • #3
      Thanks - I think that may well be what I have to do. The main difficulty at the moment is space to put the compost while I am emptying the bin, but I'll think of something!

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      • #4
        I have the same problem and empty the top till I come to decomposed compost , I then empty it from the bottom and put the top partly composted material back in again which seems to defeat the object

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        • #5
          I have had this problem too. I have decided to try this method. Dig out the left side right to the back and leave the right side full to support the weight of the compost in the top of the bin. Will try an upturned rectangular bucket in the emptied left side to support the weight of the compost and then dig out the right side. Not sure if this will work but will give it a try and report back

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          • #6
            I also have this problem, I will try emptying the whole thing and then putting back what is only partly composted but what a pain! My other problem is the temperature it is usually between 30 - 40 and only gets to 60 in very hot weather, any suggestions.

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            • Janet Vinnell
              Janet Vinnell commented
              Editing a comment
              Yes, i have the same problem, seems to me that it needs to be exactly the right wetness/dampness, too dry and it doesnt get hot, too wet, and ends up with sludge, so i decided to add things the way i would do to my cold compost bins, which is working out well. I dont allow anyone else to put stuff into my hotbin because "they" dont understand the difference between good compost making and dumping!!

          • #7
            I have this problem as well and I have just been digging away with a trowel when I open the bin and hoping eventually I will get the stuff at the back out. It is very compacted and clay like. I like to think I have got better at managing my bin. Chop everything up and mix with 1/2 that amount of paper and about 1/10 wood chip. It has a lot more air in it. Can get it up to 55 but sometimes when I add more it goes way down and I have to put the hot water bottle in. I have to say it gets up to temperature more easily when I add food waste and not just garden waste. I don't have a lawn so I don't have grass cuttings.

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            • #8
              My problem when emptying the bin is that I struggle to get to the back before the uncomposted waste from above slips down which ends up mixing in with the compost I would class as finished.
              I like the idea from somebody above about removing the top uncomposted waste until you hot the stuff you think is ready and then emptying that from the bottom. This will stop mixing up ready and new compost as well as make it easier to clean the vents at the bottom (which I'm hoping will improve my air flow again).
              I did usaed to use a compost mate (big corkscrew) for keeping the air flowing and stopping stuff getting compacted at the bottom but it mixes everything up too much and it feels like you'd the only way you would ever get to empty it is if you left it as a cold heap for a while and didn't add anything new. This would be fine if I could afford a second Hotbin but my wife would shoot me if I bought another!

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              • #9
                I tend to empty the bottom at an angel with a piece at the back supporting the material I remove a bit of this last before it collapses and put the door back on. I take the view that the material at the back will come out eventually. What Hotbin could to is design the bin with a curved floor at the back ( a wide curve connecting the back wall to the floor) so that all of material is pushed out of the front by the weight of the material above.

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                • #10
                  Good morning everyone. I have got my bin on bricks placed to allow it to be safe but with a small area at the front where i then tuck the edge a big garden tray when i am emptying it. All stuff is then just dragged out onto the tray which is emptied into big truckles. if the top stuff falls, as it usually does, i just put it in another truckle until i have got the back out. I have just emptied it after only 3 weeks as the temperature was plummeting after getting to 65c. The bottom stuff was very wet and compacted. I have to say that i did keep filling it with flower cuttings etc every time it sunk. I have got some excellent mulch grade compost in 21 days. The bin is also at a very small angle so the gunge leaks out which i save in plastic bottles and dilute to put in my watering jug!
                  Also, sometimes i get a tarpaulin and drag everything out then hose the base to clear the holes and put it back. This all sounds very time consuming but it isn't really. All I can say is that, despite it being a pain when it doesn't warm up, i am still impressed with what i get from it, even in winter when it just mottles along at 20-30c but still is doing its job, just slower.

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                  • #11
                    I have this problem also, so last time I emptied it I cut a sheet of woods roughly the width of the inside of the bin, pushed it in at the top of the door, and pulled out as much as I could underneath it without the wood falling. This was a little cumbersome, but seemed to work better...

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                    • Christopher Whitmey
                      Editing a comment
                      Yes, I've done this with a piece of plywood. Also cut another two pieces of thicker wood to the height of the door that go either side vertically under the plywood to support it.

                  • #12
                    I also had the same problem and found that doing the same as Bogger resolves the problem and it is surprisingly easy to do with the bin tipped on it's side and a plastic sheet underneath and it allows you to easily place twigs or bulking agent in the base before you put back the stuff that is not ready yet.

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                    • #13
                      My method is to tape the top closed and then turn the hotbin onto its side. Now you can open up the front and remove the bottom third of compost all the way to the back without anything falling down - it does this when you turn the hotbin the right way up again.

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                      • WiseOldBloak
                        WiseOldBloak commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Great idea sjmawson, how easy is this considering the weight of the compost inside?

                    • #14
                      Replying to WiseOldBloak - as a bloke in my fifties, I don't find it hard to turn the hotbin on its side when full of compost.....but others may. I've moved on a bit and now lay it on its back - perfect control for getting what you want out!

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                      • #15
                        I've just tried this method (of turning the bin on its back and emptying it) and can't thank you enough sjmawson! I too had had problems in the past with trying to get the ready stuff out without the 'unready' stuff falling down, and likewise was also unable to get out the stuff at the back. So I'm so pleased to have read that tip and given it a go, with great success!

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