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What I put in my bin

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  • What I put in my bin

    Several people have posted that they have trouble getting the hotbin to 40C even in the summer. I find mine runs at between 50 and 60C in the summer, but it does drop to around 20C in winter. I don't pretend to be an expert or to have all the answers, but I thought people might be intereted in what I put in my bin. Quantities may be significant, and of course this will vary from one household to another.

    Kitchen waste - I don't waste a lot of food but there are vegetable peelings and trimmings (I grow all my own veg), fruit stones, citrus peel (I don't eat a lot of citrus but I compost lemon skins and have composted the remains from making jelly marmalade), meat fat, fish skin and bones, chicken skin and bones (usually hot after boiling up for stock), eggshells, occasional wasted bread crusts, pasta, rice etc., cheese rind, small amounts of kitchen paper soaked in used oil or butter. Tea leaves and coffee grounds could also go in, but I don't drink tea and use instant coffee.

    Of the above, I find fruit stones, eggshells and chicken bones come out of the hotbin un-rotted but "clean" of any other material, and I put them back in as additional bulking agent. Tomato seeds appear to survive and may germinate in the compost when it is used. Tea bags apparently do not rot down, although the tea leaves will.

    Garden waste - lawn mowings, weeds (I haven't yet dared to compost nasty perennial weed roots like horsetail and couch grass), dead flower heads, shredded bush trimmings and prunings, finished vegetables and bedding plants, bulbs, diseased leaves (mildew, grey mould, blight etc), slugs, snails, caterpillars and other pests, moss (small amounts), dead leaves, small tree branches (shredded), chopped brambles, bits of rotting wood, small amounts of compost if it has pests in.

    I chop everything either with secateurs or with lawn edging shears in a trug so that it is reasonably finely shredded. I shake as much soil or compost as possible off roots. I keep a trug or 2 of material in my garage and sort it so that I am not adding too much of the same thing at once. Some things, like nasturtiums, are very watery and need plenty of other stuff to stop the bin from becoming too wet. I have several large leylandii hedges, but attempts to compost the trimmings from these were not a success and I now put these in my green bin for the council. Woody material will not rot down straight away and can be put back in as bulking agent. Autumn leaves need mixing well with other things - large quantities are better stored and used slowly or made into leaf mould.

    Other - plenty of shredded paper (not newspaper or shiny magazine paper), shredded corrugated cardboard, bulking agent (I still have some of the original bag from when I bought the bin 2 years ago), vacuum cleaner contents, finely chopped hair (from my hairbrush and pet hair), nail clippings, sawdust, horse manure. I don't have chickens, but chicken manure is good, as would be droppings and bedding from small pets like rabbits.

    All of these need mixing in well, particularly things like hair, which needs to be in small quantities. I found horse manure using wood shavings as bedding did not rot down very well. I have not tried wool or cotton clothing, but these should rot down ok.

    Things I would not put in - plastic (including "biodegradable" bags), metal, glass, sand, soil and stones will not rot down. Dog, cat and human poo - I feel there is a significant danger to health from these. Medicines, pills etc. Liquids including cooking oil, tea, coffee and fruit juice. Salt. Invasive perennial roots. Leylandii and other conifer trimmings (small amounts are ok). Grass or other plants that have been treated with weedkiller (read packet). Large pieces of wood, branches etc and large pieces of plants such as border perennials. Synthetic fabrics. Insecticides, fungicides, poisons, anti-bacterial agents and other household chemicals such as bleach (includes contaminated wipes, kitchen roll etc). Newspaper and shiny magazine paper, envelope windows, staples, sellotape, sticky labels, glue. Cat litter.

    I hope this helps. Feel free to disagree with me!
    Last edited by Penellype; 08-23-2015, 09:32 PM.

  • #2
    We use compostable cat litter, and it all goes in the hot bin. The bits that the cat has weed on provide nitrogen, and the rest is very good for absorbing excess moisture.


    • #3
      Penellype, a very comprehensive post. Thank you. Just started my hot composter (5 days ago) and the temperature is 25c so I guess as it is still only spring, albeit a coolish one, it is may be doing OK. I've wanted one of these composers for a couple of years now but needed to persuade myself that the price was worthwhile. Anyway looking forward to some good compost in the coming months. Thanks again for your useful post.