HOTBIN is diverting food waste
Waldringfield Community Composting scheme is successfully diverting food waste from landfill.
Last weekend we visited our friends at Waldringfield Community Composting to look at the results of the first 3 months of the HOTBIN use.
Everyone was keen to learn how much food waste the 12 households had actually diverted from landfill. The results are in and the weighing scales revealed: 5 Kg/week per household. (It was much higher in the B&B – but they have guests each week which accounted for the 10Kg/week.)
What a marvellous community composting effort.
How does this compare to other customers and the national picture?
Nationally the WRAP figures indicate that 5 Kgs per household per week is the average – I’m sure they will be happy to learn they are normal!
Our own HOTBIN customers survey is less rigorous in terms of weighing exact amounts, but it also indicates HOTBIN users divert around 3-6 Kg of food waste per week from landfill The main difference is between users who choose to really get stuck into what you can hot compost such as cooked food waste and chicken carcass etc. versus those that choose to only compost vegetable peelings.
What does all this mean? Does it make a difference?
If we take all the HOTBIN customers across the UK, the total diversion is still not that huge but as they say from little acorns….
There are 30 million households in the UK, if just 3% actively composted all food waste at home, that would remove 250,000 mt of waste from landfill. That also happens to be about the same amount of waste 10 major anaerobic digestion facilities to be built would process.
Clearly it works in our favour if more people have a HOTBIN but the figures speak for themselves!
What does this mean in terms of garden compost?
Each household is also composting garden waste. A total of 250-500 Kgs of starting material will give 75-150 Kgs of compost which is 5-10 bags of compost a year. That’s saving around £25-50 (maybe £10 more if we include car petrol) over buying from the garden centre.
Are there other benefits?
Yes. There are two huge, almost hidden, benefits of composting:
- More food waste results in more compost. More compost results in more humeric substances. More humeric substances means more fertile soil which means stronger plants and vegetables which in turn means more and better food.
- Humeric substances are ‘recalcitrant forms of carbon’ – they are resistant to further decay so they store carbon in the soil. Adding stable humeric substances to the soil results in carbon sequestration which off-sets the impact of global warming due to CO2.
What could be simpler, compost more!
USE IT or COMPOST IT
Many of you will have heard on the news today that we throw half of all the food grown away. That equates to a staggering 2 billion tonnes of waste. This underlines what WRAP and the LOVE FOOD hate waste report noted last year. http://england.lovefoodhatewaste.com/content/about-food-waste-1
Composting is not the solution for this type of food wastage but perhaps we should go from the three R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) to add a U for USE it!
However home composting leftover food scraps and spoilt food is certainly beneficial, so keep recycling more in 2013 with your HOTBIN.
Half of all food ‘thrown away’
Published on Thursday 10 January 2013 12:42
As much as half of all the food produced in the world – two billion tonnes worth – ends up being thrown away, a new report has claimed.
The waste is caused by poor infrastructure and storage facilities, over-strict sell-by dates, “get-one-free” offers, and consumer fussiness, according to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
Each year countries around the world produce some four billion tonnes of food. But between 30% and 50% of this total, amounting to 1.2 to 2 billion tonnes, never gets eaten, says the report Global Food; Waste Not, Want Not.
In the UK, up to 30% of vegetable crops are not harvested because their physical appearance fails to meet the exacting demands of consumers. Half the food purchased in Europe and the United States is thrown away after it is bought, the report adds.
Vast quantities of water are also wasted in global food production, it is claimed. The demand for water in food production could reach 10 to 13 trillion cubic metres a year by 2050, the institution said. This is up to 3.5 times greater than the total amount of fresh water used by humans today, raising the spectre of dangerous water shortages.
Dr Tim Fox, head of energy and environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: “The amount of food wasted and lost around the world is staggering. This is food that could be used to feed the world’s growing population – as well as those in hunger today. It is also an unnecessary waste of the land, water and energy resources that were used in the production, processing and distribution of this food.
“The reasons for this situation range from poor engineering and agricultural practices, inadequate transport and storage infrastructure through to supermarkets demanding cosmetically perfect foodstuffs and encouraging consumers to overbuy through buy-one-get-one free offers.”
By 2075 the United Nations predicts that the world’s population will reach around 9.5 billion, resulting in an extra three billion mouths to feed. Added stresses on the ability of the world to feed itself include global warming and the growing popularity of meat, which requires around 10 times more resources than staple plant foods such as rice or potatoes.
Dr Fox added: “As water, land and energy resources come under increasing pressure from competing human demands, engineers have a crucial role to play in preventing food loss and waste by developing more efficient ways of growing, transporting and storing foods.
“But in order for this to happen governments, development agencies and organisation like the UN must work together to help change people’s mindsets on waste and discourage wasteful practices by farmers, food producers, supermarkets and consumers.”
Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2013, All Rights Reserved
7. RECYCLE your FEAST
If there is one thing the HOTBIN likes … It’s feeding time!
So what better time to do a quick refresher course on putting food waste into your HOTBIN during this festive season.
The HOTBIN was specifically designed to compost both food and garden waste together to keep it out of landfill and produce rich compost quickly. The HOTBIN can achieve this as it can HOT compost due to the insulating properties of its walls which help to retain the heat that is released by the bacteria as they actively devour all your waste.
If you hot compost it is double bonus time as you can compost all food waste in your own backyard and you get you compost out quicker! Typically every 90 days.
For HOTBIN composting you need to think about your food waste in two camps, kitchen peelings and ALL food waste, as they do behave differently and need slightly different treatment.
Kitchen Peelings – Medium to digest – Bacteria will generate heat more slowly
By this we mean peelings from the vegetables and fruit, banana skins etc.
These can normally be put in the HOTBIN as you would in any cold compost heap. However just have a quick check, do you have a few quite ‘wet’ items in there such as coffee grinds or pulped fruit and vegetables? If so you need to add shredded office paper or corrugated cardboard and in extreme cases some bulking agent won’t go amiss either. The last thing you want on your hands in a ‘wet’ HOTBIN as it will restrict aeration and limit the heat generated inside and therefore slow down your composting considerably.
ALL Food Waste – Easy to digest – Bacteria generate heat quickly
By this we mean all the food you wouldn’t dream of cold composting!
By ALL food waste we do mean food left over from meals, plate scrapings, meat, fish, small bones, bread, cakes, pasta and rice. If you are adding ALL food waste to you HOTBIN you MUST add a scoop or two of the bulking agent (composted woodchip) to aid structure and support aeration. Food waste is at least 70% water and by adding the bulking agent you will help compensate for that. You should ideally be in the hot composting zone too between 40-60C especially for meat and fish products. At these temperatures there is no reason way you can’t add your turkey carcass and bones!
Have another look at our post on ‘ Collecting Food Waste‘ or this video for more top tips.
As you can see above the best way to categorise waste in a HOTBIN is into easy to digest, medium to digest and hard to digest. Just remember like us humans the bacteria enjoy a mixed diet! Giving them ‘Easy to Digest’ food is like giving them a ‘Sugar Rush’ and will keep your HOTBIN hot.
We advise you feed your HOTBIN at least 1x food caddie twice a week to help you keep in the HOT composting zone between 40-60C. If you are low on food waste on a particular week don’t forget to top it up with shredded office paper or corrugated cardboard and during winter add a few scoops of chicken pellets as this will really help.
Why choose to HOT compost
HOT composting means you can actually compost ALL food waste which is much harder to achieve in COLD composting bins.
Now we really do understand £185.00 is a lot for a household to pay for a HOTBIN. However when you look at the big picture there is certainly more than £185.00 worth of argument for people to support the ‘concept’ behind HOTBIN composting!
There is a staggering 7.5 million tonnes of food waste going to landfill every year. Based on the “Love Food Hate Waste” analysis, even if you already home compost, it is likely that you only compost about 40% of your food waste (i.e. kitchen peelings, tea bags). Most food waste has to be collected, transported and dumped in landfill. Going forward it will be collected (at the kerbside) in buckets and sent to anaerobic digestion plants. In the UK, we will need to build around 300 of these plants, one in each district! Each one will cost around £10-20 million to build and then we’ll still need to give every house a plastic caddy plus starch bags for the waste and load it on a lorry each week before it is reprocessed.
The HOTBIN can and does handle ALL domestic food waste.
We can compare the cost of handling food waste via a HOTBIN directly with what we all pay our councils to collect and dump and/or reprocess food waste. At present, the HOTBIN will breakeven with the alternatives in 2.5 years. If we can get support and move the production forward from thousands into tens of thousands then the price will eventually fall and this breakeven will be 1.5 years. Our breakeven estimate excludes the environmental cost of carbon emissions from transport fuel.
The HOTBIN was launched a year ago and as you will know most councils have no budget to give anything away in the current climate so unfortunately there are no more subsidies available to help home composting any more.
We have tried to compensate for this by having our ‘TWIN packs’, ideal for bigger gardens or those who want to share and save. For businesses or larger groups of friends there is the ‘QUAD pack’ and more recently we have launched the ‘Composting Dozen’, to help support local community groups who want to make a collective difference.
If you are interested to learn more about hot composting take a look at our extensive FAQ on www.hotbincomposting.com
Worms and HOTBIN composting
A question we often get asked is; do I need to keep my Wormery now I have a HOTBIN?
The simple answer is no and the key benefit is that the HOTBIN can compost both food waste and garden waste. Therefore you can save space, reduce costs and still keep your food waste out of landfill.
So what is worm composting?
Worm composting is using worms to recycle food scraps and other organic material into a valuable soil amendment called vermicompost, or worm compost. Worms eat food scraps, which become compost as they pass through the worm’s body.
So what is HOTBIN composting?
The HotBin is a simple design that helps maximise what nature does by bringing together the right conditions to make hot composting easier. It does this by providing effective aeration between the bottom air inlet plate and the air outlet rotating valve, removing excess water through the valve as steam and allowing you to control the rate of heat loss. You can compost 100% of all domestic food waste in the HOTBIN without inherent problems with odour, vermin and flies. This includes left over meals, plate scrapings, meat, fish, small bones, bread, cakes, pasta and rice. Your food and garden waste will be turned into rich organic matter for the garden every 90 days.
Worms in the HOTBIN?
You do not need to add worms into the HotBin however you can – either directly by adding into the base layer (which is cooler) or inadvertently by adding worm eggs and worms into the bin via small bits of soil and old compost . Most of the worms and worm eggs will be killed by high temperatures (>45C) but a some will find there way down into the base layer and continue to work on the base layer compsot.
However, worms can be beneficial to composting and can be added if you want to. But a word of warning do not add them into the upper active layer (60°C will kill them) only add worms via the hatch panel where the compost will be cooler. Worms will help to decompose waste and leave mucus in the compost which is proving beneficial to soil fertility.
As the HOTBIN is no ordinary composting bin as you can use it to recycle than just vegetable kitchen waste in it. The hot temperatures achieved during hot composting make composting all food waste in the HOTBIN a safe home composting system that recycles a whole lot more than just potato peelings.
So if you were thinking about a Wormery as a form of recycling food waste why not consider a HOTBIN as it composts both your food and garden waste together.
The Ultimate Guide To Compost Sieving and Sieves
Many people will use compost ‘as it comes’ from the compost bin and just dig it into the soil around plants or into the vegetable patch.
Sometimes it is preferable to have fine sieved compost for use in potting up seedlings or to use as a lawn top-dressing (it does wonders to reduce moss!). Large pieces of compost are hard to rake in and can cover the grass and act as ‘mulch’ – not the desired result.
Mature HOTBIN compost at 3 months
I have tested a few compost sieves and I thought it was time to summarise how they perform and offer a view on the how worthwhile sieving compost is.
Sieving compost can be tricky and labour intensive – it does not take too many lumps of wet moist compost to clog up the sieves.
HotBin Compost – Good and ready after 3 months
The Plastic Hand Sieve
A Plastic hand sieve will cost £4-10. These work OK if you just have a bucket of compost and the compost is not wet. When you only have small amounts of compost, the price/performance is hard to beat. However, once you start to get into bags or wheel barrow loads; the hand sieve is too time consuming. You tend to end up with aching arms and a stiff back! The plastic pan sieves struggle with moist compost – it will just roll into balls that won’t sieve. (There are a whole range of metal hand sieves that work the same as the plastic ones but cost a lot more).
A 33cm plastic garden sieve
The Rotary Sieve
The Rotary sieves cost between £30-40. They are OK with dry compost and compost that is already quite ‘fine’. However they tend to clog when used with moist compost. Some large pieces can jam in the rotary arm and you’ll need to stop and clear them out before carrying on. (NB this review was based on third-party input not our own test).
The CRS400 Rotary Soil Sieve
The Watford Sifter
The Watford Sifter costs approx £120-150. In my tests it worked better with soil than compost. It struggled with wet compost – it tended to clog and stick in centre of sieve and it did not tip ‘up and down’ far enough to move it from this position. Good for medium or large loads and certainly a good option if you have both soil and compost to sieve. With only small amounts compost, you might struggle to justify the cost.
The Watford sieving HOTBIN compost which is 3 months old and typically wet & sticky
Likes / dislikes:
- You get two screens – fine and coarse.
- Easy to push ‘up and down’
- A bit of a ‘pain’ to get the retained coarse material out of the sieve tray. In the end, I was continually lifting the whole box and tipping it out. It’s a heavy lift when not much is sieved. This issue goes away if most of the soil/compost gets sieved through – but if it is all fine in the first place there is no need to sieve!
The Scheppach Sieve
The Scheppach costs in the region of £350-400, this is a serious piece of kit. It is a trommel design (rotating cylinder) and uses and an electric motor to turn it so it also needs an electrical supply! It will handle significant volumes of soil and compost. We have not used this kit, but we know three large-scale gardeners/composters who do and they all rate it highly. If you are only using it 1-3 times a year, our opinion is it is questionable how much value you will actually get. Probably one for the professional and/or allotment/community schemes where you can share it. PS: It also takes a lot storage space.
The Scheppach RS400 rotart sifter
The Compost Sifter
Compost Sifter costs £155 (excl £40 delivery to UK). It comes from Belgium. It uses a similar rotary tunnel (trommel) design as the Scheppach – but it is turned manually via a handle. By long way, it required the least effort and sieved faster. The mesh (hole size) is smaller than the others (8mm). In our tests it struggled with wet compost, however, after initial disappoint with wet compost, it absolutely whizzed through dry compost.
(PS the photo below was taken before wheels had bee added)
The Compost Sifter – Assembled with just wheels to go
Likes / dislikes:
- Ease of turning – real winning feature
- Retains oversize and easy to get it out via panel that detaches
- It is very heavy – fine once set up on wheels, but you may need 2-people to get it out of box and set up on the frame.
- It still struggles with wet sticky compost – but so do all compost sieves!
(Oct 2013: the sifter team have introduced an ingenious compact version that fits on a wheel barrow:http://www.compostzeef.be/home.html )
For more information please visit the website above
The cheapest and most cost effective method
Please jump to this post to see the results of the most cost effective and low cost method
Sieving compost can be tricky and labour intensive, especially if it is wet and sticky as it tends ball into large lumps and clog sieves.
After numerous tests on HOTBIN compost, we think we are on solid ground to say if you want to sieve the naturally sticky wet HOTBIN compost you will have to dry it first (see how below). All the sieves will perform significantly better with dried compost.
Our next question is: Is it worth sieving compost?
This is not just about the cost of the sieve and the time and effort that goes into sieving. The most beneficial part of compost is the group of humeric substances. These compounds impact soil fertility as they enhance root uptake of minerals and water. It therefore follows the biggest benefit comes from digging humeric substances into the root zone. If digging in, one has to question if the effort to sieve out any big bits. Large over sized lumps will compost down in soil over 12-24 months. As long as the total volume of large pieces is low, the ongoing composting of these pieces is unlikely to affect nitrogen availability during the final composting period. With HOTBIN compost there is always about 10-15% of small 0.5-1.5cm wood chip (bulking agent) pieces that remain in the compost. Our tests show these pieces are covered in layers of humeric compounds. We believe these pieces of wood chip are slowly composted as they are coated and protected from rapid decay. Whilst in the soil, small pieces of wood chip also aid aeration and soil tiling.
There are applications where sieved compost is useful e.g. when used as a lawn top-dressing (i.e. raking in a thin layer of compost on to the grass), or when creating a potting mix for seedlings. Lawn care is a huge part of British gardening. I personally have seen good results from top-dressing moss ridden lawns (high clay, poor drainage) with sieved compost. For those of you that want to drop dress, the method is outlined below.
In summary, for most compost users and most types of compost application, we do not believe drying compost and then sieving is worthwhile.
Compost and lawn top dressing
- In late Autumn take out your HOTBIN compost and dry it (we spread it out as a thin layer on patio / large sheet polyethylene)
- Add dried compost to compost sifter or like to sieve
- Sieve and bag up
- Spread on grass and rake out to about 1cm layer.
This will take huge quantities of compost – but the rewards is you will not be spending much on lawn fertiliser or moss killer!
This AUTUMN could be the time to RETHINK composting?
Autumn is coming – It’s will soon be time to start that big garden clear up again! Should you start to RETHINK your composting method now too?
You may well have wheel barrow loads of plant and weed being removed over the next few weeks.
What are you going to do with all your autumn garden waste?
1) Pile it all up as normal in that big heap – come back in spring hopeful of compost but most likely disappointed that you face the prospect of waiting another 12 months for your compost?
2) Take a different approach – join the HOTBIN composters and be sure of a fabulous batch of compost ready to dig in with you spring planting preparation?
3) Leave it out for the council green waste team to sort out – Oh dear! All that fuel, cost and effort to centrally reprocess it. Taking all that goodness from your soil this year, which means next year it has to be replaced by buying even more fertiliser, that takes even more energy and resources to make?
Composting during the cold autumn, winter and early spring months can usually be a very slow process. Especially when the temperature falls below 5C, the rate the bacteria work is almost nonexistent. The secret to fast composting is heat – and lots of it. Compost forms 64 times faster at 60C than it does at 10C. If you can keep your waste hot (between 40-60C), it will compost in 20 to 90 days!
There are many help sites that recommend building huge piles (minimum 1X1X1 m3), and then turning them regularly to keep them aerated and hot. But even this technique will struggle in winter as the heat produced by the bacteria is quickly lost to the cold air. (And it requires quite a bit of effort and space too)
This is why so many HOTBIN composters are happy – all the hard work to help support natural high temperature composting is provided by the HOTBIN. As long as you keep feeding it every week with enough waste – it will keep running at 60C. It has been tested and proven even with outdoor temperatures as low as -15C.
Not only can you get rid of all that garden waste, you will also be able to compost all your food waste over winter too.
Now if you were an early HOTBIN starter, your HOTBIN might be full already! If the bottom layer has been in there for 90 days, now is a good time to empty it to make room for your Autumn garden clear up.
It is always best to shred as much as you can (the smaller the pieces, the larger the surface area, the easier it is for the bacteria). Now if you don’t own a shredder then you can always use your lawn mower!.
Now you are ready to fill up HOTBIN to the top and get it back up to 60C .
If you have a large garden you may still have too much waste . So the best thing is to store it in pop up bag or on another heap. Remember to keep it covered to protect it from the rain. Where possible we suggest you store bags on stones/gravel so water drains out and some air can get in through the holes in the bottom.
You can add the excess waste every 4 days (about 20 litres 10 cms depth). As the ‘waste pile’ gets colder and older, reduce how much you add each week – But keep adding your food waste! (The bacteria need some easy to digest waste to keep the temperatures at HOT composting levels between 40-60C).
Keep going until all autumn waste is gone.
As soon as you start to collect a lot of autumn leaves – check out the ‘composting autumn leaves post’ as you need to tweak the recipe to hot compost leaves.
Remember the key to keeping it HOT is a BALANCE of ‘easy to digest waste’ made up of green stuff, food waste, plus shredded office paper’ (which creates heat quickly) with the hard to digest woody cuttings (heat released slowly), or partially composted waste (energy depleted).
Why not take up the challenge – find out what others have experience by visiting our ‘product reviews’ at www.hotbincomposting.com. Explore more about how it works by looking at our extensive ‘how to compost’ database, for example our ‘principles of hot composting’ article.
The HOTBIN is a simple design that helps maximise what nature does by bringing together the right conditions to make HOT composting easier. It does this by providing effective aeration between the bottom air inlet plate and the air outlet rotating valve, removing excess water through the valve as steam and allowing you to control the rate of heat loss.
HOTBIN investigates an interesting composting method
We had an interesting question come in last week!
Was Black Soldier Fly (BSF) composting the most efficient composting system ever?
After many years in composting, we had not come across BSF before, intrigue and a hint of competiveness that any system might be better than the HOTBIN, we did a bit of googling. You learn something new every day!
- BSF (Hermetia_illucens) is a species of fly with native to America (with a cousin down in Australia). There will be a UK entomologist who will no doubt identify a cousin in UK, but so far not aware – and hence possible reason we have not come across them in UK)
- It has a niche habitat – rotting food/manure. The fly lays eggs in compost and the larvae (some would say maggots) eat the food waste – and they appear pretty good at it. (This is no different to house flies and or vinegar/fruit flies – BSL are much bigger and eat more!)
- The larvae are not meant to be allowed to hatch into flies (ie pupate), they are collected and used as chicken feed and/or fishing bait
- There are a number of specialist bins designed to house, retain and harvest the larvae. As a food waste disposal system, it more closely resembles worm composting.
What about claims to be the “most efficient”? We are always suspicious of ‘fastest and best’ and try and uncover the scientific facts. There was no reference to a specific quote and we did not see the claim on sites listed below. It looks like there is enthusiasm for BSF, as highly efficient and this enthusiasm comes from the visible disappearance of food waste as BSF larvae eat food within 2-4 days. If you compare 4 days to “composting” even hot composting at 30 days – you might think it’s more efficient. But decomposition (eating waste food) is just a set of biochemical reactions involving enzymes – the rules are fixed: the rate at which reactions take place is governed by the Arrenhenius equation – which basically boils down to temperature. BSF Larvae die at 40C, thermophilic bacteria operate at 60C and in many cases 70C.
In simple terms, larvae at 40C work at the same speed as bacteria at 40. If we say composting at 10C is rate X1, then larvae and bacteria at 40C are X8 times faster, but bacteria at 60C are 32 times faster – speed wise, we think no contest!
But is speed what we need to focus on? What are we trying to accomplish? Are we seeking to dispose of food waste fast, make fish bait or make great humus with high nutrient and water holding capacity that dramatically improves soil fertility? (With the added plus of diverting food from landfill).
Nature eventually recycles all plant and animal matter back to carbon dioxide and water. Does it matter if the larvae eat food, then the chickens eat the larvae and then the bacteria eat the chicken poo? Or that the bacteria eat the food (and release carbon dioxide), but leave some residual waste (compost) that gets eaten much later and then finally becomes carbon dioxide. Both routes are carbon neutral and better that sending it to landfill where it will decompose anerobically releasing methane. BSFL larvae eat the food and produce a small amount of residual compost like material. Composting and hot composting produces a lot of compost for the garden. Compost is beneficial to the soil before it is finally returned to carbon dioxide.
We should perhaps note that for many humans, the reaction (rightly or wrongly) to flies, larvae & maggots are negative. Even though BSF appear as good guy (does not bite, sting or carry diseases problematic to humans), we know from experience (backed up by surveys), that one of the biggest reasons people stop composting is flies and maggots. The prospect of actively promoting lots of maggots in waste food seems at best destined as a specialist area.
A text book start for the HOTBIN
The Compost Woman, who knows an awful lot about composting, reviews the HOTBIN! And I’m pleased to announce she has had a text book start as she has already reached 60C!
She started with an very full HOTBIN having plenty of material available for her base layer.
After 24 hours there was already a noticeable difference as the the material started to decompose.
She is a freelance Forest School Leader and Environmental Educator who works with both adults and children on all sorts of things. As well as a volunteer Master Composter and Master Gardener, helping people make compost and grow veg at home or at school.
There is more than ONE alternative to sending food waste to Landfill
Ban food waste from Landfill?
Collect and reprocess it via anaerobic digestion (AD) instead? Well yes and no!!
Respect the 3Rs: we should reduce food waste. Accepting there is always going to be some waste to treat…
There have been renewed calls to ban food waste from landfill in the Guardian today . The report’s co-author Quentin Maxwell-Jackson is reported by the Guardian to state: “Anaerobic digestion technology has so many clear advantages over other waste treatment and energy generation options that it is very surprising it has not taken off in a big way yet in the UK.”
Calls to ban food waste have been made before. The Government’s stated policy is collection and reprocessing food waste via AD.
It is still probably still too early for the policy makers to ban food waste from landfill as the UK does not have the capacity ‘coming on stream’ to reprocess it via alternative means.
Every new AD plant takes time to get planning permission, to build and commission. At out last reckoning, about 3 major were due to come on stream next year and we estimated the UK needed 300 to divert food waste from landfill – it is going to be a huge cost and long path.
AD makes a lot of sense – we need a collection/reprocessing technology that caters for the majority and we know only about 15-20% of the UK population does (or will) home compost and traditional home composting has never been appropriate for all food waste.
We should not let the historic issues of home composting all food waste (including cooked food, meat, fish, bread, cakes, rice, pasta etc) that create a stinky odour that deters people and attracts rats, flies from continually reviewing technology for home composting. The HOTBIN team has real factual evidence that the HOTBIN has changed home composting of food waste for the better. Users have changed behaviour and are diverting all food waste from landfill. We estimate 5m current home composting households could divert all food waste and make a contribution – immediately.
100,000 HOTBIN users would equate to 1 new big AD plant. Delivering a million units a year (we wish!) is a logistics co-ordination issue – the capacity can be made available very quickly. We understand home composting is not for everyone – but we need to make a dent in landfill now and it can be done now.
There are other reasons why AD is not the ‘be all and end’ of reprocessing food waste. Reprocessing is a complex combination of user behaviour, logistics and technical facts. Yes AD has advantages, but so does home composting. Home composting removes the need for collection and transport, the compost can be used in the garden (reducing fertiliser and peat consumption) and adding organic matter and humus back to into soil is essential to soil fertility.
Help us win government support – HOTBIN composting diverts domestic food waste.
[At present we are pushing water up a hill and knocking on closed doors.]