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Any tips for emptying the Hotbin?

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  • bellarho6@gmail.com
    replied
    I have just emptied mine into wheelbarrows and washed bin thoroughly, dried in sun and put back together and it took an hour or so. I am lady of 70 and not that strong. Used combination of fork, spade and raking tool to empty - and it was all useable which surprised me. Not as difficult to do as in the past and altho visible avocado stones and eggshell it all looks fairly well composted. No smell and ready to use on vege bed. Am really pleased as it never gets very hot.

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  • Hot_binfluencer
    replied
    Originally posted by PSQ View Post
    I've had my HB for 2 years and am very pleased with it - my wife would say "obsessed"! Emptying is the biggest problem and my technique has been to lay it on its side. However when I stood it back up this morning so the top half of the compost could drop down the bin split into 2 parts top to bottom! I think it's repairable with the right glue but I don't think it's designed to be moved regularly. To empty in future I'll have to leave it in situ and use one of the other creative solutions than have been suggested.
    I did exactly this today and I’m gutted that I didn’t read page two of this thread before plowing on! Hopefully it will still work. How did you get on with the glue?

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  • yorkshirepudding
    replied
    I emptied my hotbin the difficult way a few times before coming up with an idea. I didn't like the sound of it breaking when turning on side, and in its current position against a wall in between the bins, there is not really enough room to do it without manhandling it out.

    I had tried to support with bits of timber, but found it very problematic to keep supporting while digging, I therefore emptied the whole thing out and built a frame (using some spare 2x2 and OSB board (9mm) for the sides) that would go in the bottom and provide support for pieces of plywood (9mm) slotted in above. I've now emptied it twice using this method and while it is not perfect, the positives are:
    • I do get everything out easily from underneath without the top stuff falling down.
    • Plenty of time to clean out the base-plate with hose if needed without having to empty it
    • Less dry spots and less compaction than before
    • less aeration challenges than before
    The downsides as I see it are:
    • Timber frame takes up space in the hotbin so fills up quicker
    • The timber at the top of the frame provides support even once the ply is removed, so needs agitation to get the material to fall down
    • This agitation results in some mixing of the top layers
    I think if hotbin could create a slimline plastic accessory that does the same job, it would be brilliant and would substantially reduce the downsides of this approach. If anyone would like to copy, I've attached some photos.

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  • Celtic Hedgewitch
    replied
    I have recently emptied my HotBin for the first time (really good mulching-type compost, VERY happy with that result) but I only dug out the middle, all the way to the back and left the very base layer and both sides in place. I expected the top layers to collapse into the base (it sort of started to collapse as I was emptying it, which is why I stopped when I did) but it hasn't, really. Short of trying sjmawson's impressive idea (which I would, if I wasn't only 5'2" and in my 60's), should I push the un-composted layers down from the top (as seems to me that would destroy the hot core)? I would be grateful for any advice.

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  • PSQ
    replied
    I've had my HB for 2 years and am very pleased with it - my wife would say "obsessed"! Emptying is the biggest problem and my technique has been to lay it on its side. However when I stood it back up this morning so the top half of the compost could drop down the bin split into 2 parts top to bottom! I think it's repairable with the right glue but I don't think it's designed to be moved regularly. To empty in future I'll have to leave it in situ and use one of the other creative solutions than have been suggested.

    Leave a comment:


  • Spadelessade
    replied
    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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  • sjmawson
    replied
    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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  • Christopher Whitmey
    commented on 's reply
    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.

  • WiseOldBloak
    commented on 's reply
    Great idea sjmawson, how easy is this considering the weight of the compost inside?

  • sjmawson
    replied
    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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  • NIBBLE
    replied
    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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  • Danothebaldyheid
    replied
    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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  • longden lass
    replied
    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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  • Iskandar64
    replied
    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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  • ssherlock
    replied
    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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