In this post we aim to help you manage the collection of kitchen waste that is going to be added to your HOTBIN.
Collecting food waste in the kitchen has inherent problems as it can become smelly, containers can become mouldy and the caddy can attract flies. Here are our top tips to reduce these issues
DO I NEED A CADDY?
We tend to find a defined ‘container’ helps the whole family focus and know where to put things like kitchen peels and plate scrapings. There are some benefits in some caddy designs, but you can reduce the smell from all containers even if they cost 5p or £22 by following a few simple tips described below.
HOW CAN I STOP MY CADDY STINKING AND GOING MOULDY?
Your caddy is a ‘mini’ compost heap. Eventually it will develop composting moulds (fungi) and bacteria on the walls. You will need to occasionally wash it. We have been able to dramatically reduce the amount of washing needed by doing two things:
- To prevent food waste sticking to walls, line the caddy walls with kitchen towel or old sheets of A4 paper
(avoid newspaper – want to know why?)
- Put a handful of shredded paper or cardboard in the bottom of the caddy. This will absorb excess moisture. The paper falls out into the compost bin – leaving a thin layer of moist dry at the bottom. Re add paper each time emptied. (This also reduces the risk of adding food waste that is ‘too wet’ . (Too much hassle and a bit fiddly? Once you have the routine, it seems no more or less trouble than washing the messy bin several times a month!
- Empty the caddy twice a week, do not leave it more than 7 days in caddy ( We do recommend the HOTBIN is fed 1 x caddy 2x week anyway).
HOW CAN I STOP MY CADDY ATTRACTING FLIES?
Flies are attracted to odour from decaying food – stop the odour and the flies won’t come. Tips:
- As above – keep your caddy lined, clean and empty regularly
- Buy a caddy with a lid that has a small carbon filter in the top – this will reduce the amount of odour leaving the caddy.
CAN I USE THE COMPOSTABLE BAGS TO LINE MY CADDY OR COLLECT FOOD WASTE?
We do not recommend adding the compostable bags in to the HOTBIN.
We need to clear: they are compostable and do biodegrade in the HOTBIN, in fact they will degrade very fast 20-30 days (in line with the manufactures specification and biodegradability tests).
However we advise against using them as they prevent effective aeration of the food inside the bag.
The bag “seals” the contents from airflow so the food contents inside anaerobically decompose during the first 1-10 days before the bag itself degrades. (It’s like adding food waste with no bulking agent – you end up with a mushy smelly mess). You can of course you tip out the waste and shred the bag and add it separately – but this seems to defeat the objective of using the bag! A paper bag makes a better liner- simply empty the contents out, scrunch up the bag and add it!
CAN I ADD THE COMPOSTABLE BAGS THAT THE SUPERMARKET SOMETIMES PACKS VEGETABLES IN?
It’s the same as above and the answer is technically yes as they will decay quickly when the HOTBIN is hot.
But in our experience they can prevent airflow.
You need to be 100% sure the bags are not lying flat across the surface of the waste in the HOTBIN as they will block hot airflow. (Think of a chimney stack with hot air flowing up – a bag across the chimney pot prevents the flow). If you want to add compostable bags it is best to shred or cut up them up.
This is a balancing act –the more the list grows of things you need to watch out for, the more challenging using the system becomes. The compostable bags are still quite rare, often get mixed up with normal plastic. If they do end up in the waste stream at least you know they will compost eventually.
Click here to see how bacteria perform best to compost quicker.