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Hello and questions about tea, paper and soggy straw

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  • Hello and questions about tea, paper and soggy straw

    Hi, I'm ejd, I'm from the West Midlands, I only started gardening (containers and small greenhouse) this year, and I took delivery of my Hotbin just yesterday. I'm a novice where composting is concerned. I've got lots of questions but the most pressing three at the moment are:

    1. I intend to compost my tea. I've read that many teabags contain uncompostable materials. Should I remove the tea from the bag before composting?

    2. Is it okay to put newspaper in the Hotbin that contains larged coloured ink areas? I don't intend to use glossy paper but are the coloured inks in newspaper okay? Also, since my shredder threw a wobbly when I tried to shred newspaper, would it be okay to just rip it into pieces?

    3. I've got a small amount (about 10 litres) of very soggy straw. Would it be okay to compost this?

    Looking forward to reading any opinions about these questions,


  • #2
    Hi there,
    1. With regards to question 1, not all tea bags have plastic in them, so it is tea bag dependant. At the end of the day it's personal preference, I have always just chucked all my tea bags straight into the bin without ripping. What you are left with is a very fine membrane. For more reading on the subject have a look at the composting tea bags post on the HOTBIN blog.

      The HOTBIN Help blog is a great source of knowledge if you have many other questions.
      Just type any keywords in the search box at the top of the page.
    2. Most newspaper inks these days are vegetable based so they won't have any negative effect on your finished compost. Ripping into small strips is ok, but shredding is better because it allows you to more evenly incorporate it throughout the heap.
    3. Finally, If it were me I would try to whole off on adding anything soggy to the bin, if things get overly wet the bin can go anaerobic and start to smell.

    You can also subscribe to the HOTBIN Composting Youtube channel for more helpful advice


    • #3
      1. I have been composting tea bags for years with no issues.
      2. Quite ok to use newspaper. I just tear it into small pieces before adding.
      3. No problem adding soggy straw provided the overall moisture level in the bin is ok. It will take a little while before you get the hang of what's too much or too little moisture in the bin. I find mine tends to dry out in the centre, so have been adding more water to it. So experiment to see what mixes best with what.
      Good luck with your new bin.