Starting HOTBIN in Winter - Will it Go Anaerobic?

Friday, 25 January 2019  |  HOTBIN Composting

Starting the HOTBIN in Winter – Will It Go Anaerobic?

Will a Cold HOTBIN Turn Anaerobic?

No. The HOTBIN will just compost the contents at a cooler temperature as long as paper and bulking are added with the waste, it just means that no cooked food, weeds or pet waste should be added in if it’s not over 40c. If the contents of the HOTBIN begin to smell putrid, that is the time to become concerned about the contents turning anaerobic and to start taking corrective action.

Close Up of HOTBIN Thermometer
What Waste Can I Compost During Winter?

As you may expect there is less garden waste over winter, so less to compost. This does not however mean that the HOTBIN will stop working over winter or that you need to let it go dormant, just bear in mind that even when/if the bin is running below 40°c it is still composting faster than many other systems. There are however a few ways to compensate for this drop in the availability of waste and maintain a higher composting temperature.

  1. Carry on composting food waste, such as fruit and vegetables etc – just avoid cooked food waste if internal temperature is under 40°c
  2. Ask friends and family for waste – might seem strange but it is something we have done at head office to keep our test bins running and helps people slim their bins
  3. Check our list of compostable materials to see if there is anything you are missing
  4. Check out this post on winter composting materials


How to Start the HOTBIN in Winter

The HOTBIN can be started in the same way as any other time of year with the addition of the kick start bottle if necessary:

  1. Add thin layer of twigs in the base
  2. Add plenty of fresh waste (easy and hard to digest)
  3. Be patient (waste level needs to be above hatch to create initial heat surge)
  4. Use kick start bottle if outside temperature is below 15°c


Note: The weather will have a negligible effect on the bin. Even though cold air is drawn into the HOTBIN through the bottom mesh the insulation of the unit counteracts this overall. If you do see a drop in temperature only a small amount will be due to the outside air temperature, even in the coldest weather. Our advice is to keep the microbes active and fed as well as possible!