Recycling Champions are local families and community groups who take part in our recycling trials to help us find new ways to reduce food waste and increase recycling across the District
Hot Bin trial summer 2022
Last summer 15 families and community groups trialled Hot Bins to see how they help minimise their food waste.
A Hot Bin can take cooked food waste (including bones), peelings, pet waste and more and turn it into rich compost in 30 – 90 days by heating the waste up to 60°C. The result is a nutrient-rich compost for your garden for minimal effort and reduced food waste in your rubbish bin.
Meet our trial participants and stay up to date with how they're getting on.
We have enjoyed using the hot bin and getting something useful from our food waste. We tried putting some meat waste into it but found it really attracted flies so stopped that and just stuck to raw and cooked veg waste.
We certainly noticed that we had less general waste than previously.
We found that the waste broke down quickly and even now the bin is only just to the top of the door so it wasn't easy to remove compost. It generated more liquid than I anticipated and needed draining every few days.
We will certainly be continuing to use the bin and keep experimenting to get the right balance of waste to shredded paper/wood chips.
Pictured is the compost produced being used in the garden to help the fruit trees planted to grow.
We have really enjoyed using the hot bin. It was easy to get going and run. All our food waste has been going into it including bones. My general household bin is less smelly and hasn't attracted as many flies as before and of course it is not so full. I am shocked at how much we have been wasting. I think having emptied it twice that I would not put eggshells into it as they do not decompose, bones on the other hand when well smashed up disappear. I have used the contents for growing seedlings vegetables and flowers and the compost when dried out a bit and sieved is perfect for this.
As far as I am concerned there are no cons to using the hot bin providing that it is placed in an area that is easily accessible. To make it run at a constant hot composting rate it must be regularly fed, and mine is hungry, or it can't go sour quite quickly. I imagine that this could be a bit of a commitment to some but has not been a problem to me as the children have been taking part in the experiment and love opening the bin and experiencing the hot whoosh coming out of it. Also, I had no idea how much shredded paper it would use which is a lot, perhaps it might be an idea to add information about this in the pre-trial information.
Should the bin go cold and smelly there are so many gardeners who are happy to share their experiences on YouTube, the person who I have followed is called The Beanie Composter and his advice is excellent.
We will continue using the hot bin it is an amazing bit of kit and an excellent educational project for interested children, mine have really thrown themselves into it. Anything that transforms cooked kitchen waste into excellent compost is a winner.
With the last emptying we have sown and grown winter cabbage and salad leaves. They germinated superbly and are now ready to transplant into my cold greenhouse.
Thank you so much for allowing us to take part in the trial.
"I'm always keen to minimise waste but as a small household I didn't think it was possible to compost my limited kitchen waste so when I heard about the Hot Bin trial I was keen to have a go.
"It was easy to use but as a small household with good food management and minimal food waste it was difficult to fill the bin to the necessary height to maintain the temperature.
"All my food waste, peelings, teabags and eggshells went from general waste to the hot bin. On average I reduced my general waste from 2 small bags a month to 1 and only put the bin out once a month.
"I've struggled to fill it enough to maintain the temperature, but I am going to keep going - just need to find more stuff to put in it."
We have found the Hot Bin a great help, it has taken all our organic waste and also most of our neighbourhood's grass cuttings (we don’t have any lawn on our property). The positives are obvious: less waste to landfill, some lovely compost to come and a convenient place to deposit your waste food. A huge positive was 40 litres of liquid fertiliser that we’ve used all summer and now have in storage for spring and knowing it’s all organic is a real benefit. Only on negative is that the bin still leaches the fertiliser liquid so we have to keep on top of draining it and we’ve only managed to reach temperature once. It gets hot but not hot enough to put in non-organic material.
Our general waste bin has been reduced significantly, it’s never full and 90% of the contents is packaging material (our next project is to reduce this).
We will most certainly continue to use the hot bin, it’s a great way to recycle garden and organic waste and as we have previously had to get rid of our compost because of rats, this bin has given us a greater level of security and thus far we’ve had no problems.
"We wanted to take part because we are a family of four and have a fair amount of food waste especially from the children despite best efforts not to. We currently recycle as much as we can and we have also recently re done our garden. We loved the idea that we could minimise our waste and create something to feed our garden off the back of it."
We found it easy to use. In the warmer months the kitchen caddy was creating fruit flies. We have found it very hard to get the bin to temperature and it still isn't.
We definitely noticed a difference on our household waste: it was definitely less and made our main bin less smelly.
The Hot Bin hasn't created any compost yet but it has liquid fertiliser. We will continue through the winter and then see what results we have for the spring summer.
"The Hot Bin seems to be working ok - the top thermometer is never that hot but I can always feel the heat coming off it so is warmer amongst the compost. Having to add bark chip and shredded paper is an added level of faff compared to a normal compost heap which I think would put some people off. It is a useful place to get rid of shredded paper and pizza boxes though! If I didn’t have the greenhouse next to the hot bin to store the wood chip and paper it would be quite annoying though.
"I already composted uncooked fruit and veg waste and we don’t chuck much food so it hasn't made much of a difference to what goes in a bin bag but I do like being able to put other food waste in the hot bin so that has been a real advantage."
"I haven't used any yet but the bin has generated compost: I dug a bit out and it seemed nice and crumbly."
2020 Hot Bin trial testimonials
In 2020 we ran our first phase of the Hot Bin trial with 100L bins for 5 families. Read how they got on throughout their trial.
"We decided to have a go at the hotbin trial as we have a couple of normal compost bins, and it looked as though the hotbin would work better and the compost could benefit the ground quicker. If this does prove to be correct, we will have improved soil to have better returns from what we plant - maybe a shorter time from plant to harvest? We will see."
August update (end of trial)
"We found the hot bin excellent! We use it for waste food stuff from our daughter's family and mother's flat too. It has never been full as it decomposes quickly now it is actually hot. We had the devil of a job to get it started so that could be a problem for some people, but simply persevere! So, all household food waste from 3 households goes into it and there is about 1/4 still to fill it. We grow a fair bit in the garden and all leaves, and roots/scraps are put in the bin. Previously we had 4 on the go, but now we can compost 'harder' stuff like twigs and leaves (for leaf mould) which we were not doing before. It should be an essential part of the garden for everybody; which would reduce the burden of communal disposal."
"I signed up for the trial as it’s completely up my street as I try my best not to create waste, recycling and composting where possible. It really caught my eye as you can compost quite a few things that you can’t put in a wormery, such as waste meat and fish off cuts. We eat a lot of veg and my wormery is getting quite full with peelings."
"I was concerned about the amount of paper that needed to go in at first, but we actually have loads. None goes in the recycling anymore. We’re gradually raising the temperature - battling the cold outdoor temperatures!"
August update (end of trial)
"The hot bin is really good. I have a really quite small garden and found space for it. I had a wormery before starting this trial and that was a little limiting as you can’t put certain things like onions or citrus in that. The hot bin takes everything. You just have to take time to cut some things into smaller pieces to speed up the composting process.
I’ve cut down my household waste even further to the point where I have no food waste, just packaging. I’ve harvested some compost and it’s really good quality, no food bits that haven’t broken down yet (you could pop them back in for a second go if you did find this though). I would recommend it and have been telling people about it."
Barber Bacon family
"We decided to take part in the hot bin trial to help reduce the amount of waste created by our family of four going to landfill and for the opportunity to use our kitchen waste to produce our own compost to improve the soil structure for our future vegetable growing."
"We are almost at the level where we can use the kick start bottle to help reach optimum composting temperature.
My best tip so far: make the items going into the hotbin small. I think cutting items to about 4cm pieces is recommended and have found doing this has greatly increased the speed in which the food items are composting."
August update (end of trial)
"Using the bin was something all of the family got involved in. The kids were fascinated with the composting process and it actually encouraged us to be in the garden more as we were using the compost while building our vegetable patch.
"I found the hotbin fairly easy to use but have learnt that you do need to keep observing it to ensure it has the right balance of waste products to work at its most productive. It took quite a while to establish a foundation that would reach the optimum temperature for composting but once we were there, the hotbin has been truly amazing for our family."
"We’re relatively new to the composting scene and are really excited to reap the benefits of a hot bin and all that it can do! We decided to take part in the trial as we’re always keen to try out new things and were wanting to more readily compost our cooked foods."
"It’s been holding at 70F, even covered in snow!
We have been surprised by how much weight we have added to the hot bin in just one month. We just put our refuse bin out for collection last night only to find that in two weeks we haven’t even put one bag in, such is the ability to recycle and compost now!
We have also been really enjoying the liquid gold coming out of the hot bin. Every week we get a good 1-2l of pure fertiliser pouring out from the tap, which we use to feed all the plants and trees beginning to show signs of life as we head towards spring."
"It is going really well, although we added a number of twigs in clearing up the garden and the temperature really dropped after that. So we cut them all up a little smaller and added the hot water bottle and it restarted within 24 hours.
"Be sure to cut up any twigs into smaller 5-10cm sections to ensure the bin remains hot and allow the compost to break it down more easily. We added twigs that were too big, but on realising that, we cut them up adding the hot water bottle and things were back up to speed in no time!"
August update (end of trial)
"Our household waste has significantly decreased as we are now able to compost almost all organic matter. We definitely recommend getting a Hot Bin and making full use of it."
Amanda lives in Horsham with her family.
In her September video, Amanda tells us more about using the caddy for her family of four, and shows us:
- What other materials you can add to the caddy, alongside food waste
- How to check the Hot Bin's temperature
- How to add your full food caddy contents to the Hot Bin
- How to identify the base level line, and what it means
Results after 6 months
The Coakleys have reduced their general waste by over half in just six months! They have composted some 115kg of food waste by using the bin, saving this food from going to waste.
Amanda said: "We are absolutely grateful for the Hot Bin and I don’t think we’ll ever go without it again. The benefits have been amazing. We’ve seen a big reduction in our residual waste, and we have no odour from our kitchen bin.
There is now a consciousness in our household about not producing waste, that wasn’t there before, and best of all we get compost for the garden!"