Balancing The Composting Act
I normally like to keep blog posts generic so the tips provided are applicable to all kinds of composting methods. However, this week, I feel I need to bring this post up again specifically tailored for customers using HOTBIN or a similar aerobic hot composter.
Why Keeping a Balanced Composting Act is Critical
To procure a fast and efficient aerobic composting process, balancing each load of organic waste with the right amount of shredded paper (moisture) and the right amount of bulking agent/mulch (aeration) is critical.
The right balance of these materials helps to create the optimum condition to maximize heat generation, stimulate bacterial activity, accelerate decomposition, and maximize what nature does naturally.
For HOTBIN to work as an insulated chimney, it needs to have a structure where air is drawn in via the aeration mesh (in the base) and exit via the upper lid valve. Whereas the shredded paper controls moisture; the bulking agent/mulch allows for air and oxygen to percolate up utilizing the air spaces it creates. Lastly, any excess steam or water vapor will exit via the upper lid valve.
The Balancing Act
For the purpose of this post, I am going to use a caddy/pail/container to provide the right proportions, as the specific quantities will vary from user to user.
For HOTBIN users, we suggest the following mix:
For each full caddy/pail/container of kitchen/food waste, add…
- Half a caddy/pail/container of shredded paper (to balance moisture).
- 1/5 of a caddy/pail/container of mulch or bulking agent (to create air spaces for oxygen flow and aid aeration).
Tips that applies to this particular task:
- Don't forget to chop the waste for fast bacteria digestion of waste.
- Don’t forget to use the raking stick to mix the fresh waste, to evenly combine mulch and shredded paper throughout the heap each time you feed your compost bin.
- If possible. try to mix the very top couple of inches of the heap into the fresh waste. These will bring the existing bacteria into the new waste.
- When it’s really cold, bacteria may need a little help to warm up and start digesting waste. Use the kick-start bottle that comes with each HOTBIN with hot water and follow the label instructions to get the HOTBIN up to temperature.
- If you leave your bin for a couple of weeks unfed and it cools down, you can also use the kick start bottle to get it back to temperature, with fresh waste, bulking agent and shredded paper.
- Check the internal temperature (with the extra thermometer), before adding new waste. There is a variance between the lid thermometer and internal temperature and you want to know the composting heap temperature is above 104˚F before feeding any cooked food or weeds. If the HOTBIN is not above 104˚F, you may need to bring the temperature up by using the kick-start bottle with warm water and wait to add the new load.
- Recommended minimum waste added should be around 11 lbs./ week and the maximum about 11 lbs. every day (11 lbs. is roughly 1 gal. small container of food waste.
For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by leaving your comments and tips on this blog page.