COMPOSTING & AEROBIN
WHAT IS COMPOST?
Composting converts organic kitchen and garden waste into dark colored 'soil'
like material that is high in nutrients. Composting is the name given to a
method of breaking down organic waste, either aerobically or unaerobically.
Aerobic breakdown is desirable because it is quicker and more environmentally
friendly (there are no unpleasant odors if operating correctly).
Organic waste such as garden waste and food (kitchen) waste when sent to
landfill will ultimately lead to high methane levels (21 times more harmful
than CO2). Methane gas is a greenhouse gas which contributes to global warming.
This is what happens during the Anaerobic breakdown of organic materials. This
is actually harmful to our environment.
By composting you will contribute to reducing the waste that goes to either
landfill or incineration and in no small way be assisting our planets
Compost will reduce the evaporation from your garden or vegetable beds and
therefore reduce the water volume you use on your garden and vegetable beds.
d. Compost will increase the health of your soil, so in the case of
garden beds and vegetable beds, improve the growth of flowers, shrubs, trees
and of course vegetables. Therefore also reducing the dependency on fertilizers
to condition your soil.
WHAT DIFFERENTIATES AEROBIN FROM OTHER COMPOSTING DEVICES?
It's central aeration lung.
It has insulated side walls and lid for year round operation - both to retain
heat generated by the aerobic composting process and stop cold ambient air
reaching the biomass.
No turning or agitating of the biomass is necessary - simply drop and forget!
It's vermin resistant.
It will compost quickly.
It has a Base & a Leachate Tank for collection of liquid nutrients
dispelled from the biomass (green waste).
Aerobin requires no accessories or tools.
It has a moisture recirculation system.
Aerobin composts kitchen & garden waste.
j. Aerobin lowers GHG emissions.
WHY AEROBIC HOT COMPOSTING?
Decomposition or the breakdown of the organic matter is achieved by the presence
and action of micro-organisms, that thrive in a hot, oxygenized environment.
Hot composting is the action of microbic bacteria. These microbes are smaller
than the eye can see, but these microbes work wonders in the right conditions.
Like us they have some very basic needs to exist & thrive - which are the
ongoing supply of air, water and a good balanced diet. Hot composting is
desirable because it kills pathogens, inoculates weeds and their seeds and
creates good quality compost in a relatively short period of time. Aerobic
composting also dramatically reduces greenhouse gas emissions - methane gas in
particular which is 21 times more potent than CO2 (Carbon Dioxide), which is a
bi-product of anaerobic decomposition - what happens at landfill sites.
WHAT'S ESSENTIAL IN THE OPERATION OF YOUR AEROBIN?
Most importantly is that you provide a good balanced diet of organic materials
(the biomass) to feed the microbes and deposit it in a way that doesn’t smother
the pile or block free drainage.
a. What is balance all about?
A balanced diet is essential to good health and also good composting. The more
balanced the biomass is, the more microbial activity and the easier it becomes
to manage the composting efficiency of your Aerobin.
b. How do you gauge moisture content?
The microbes need to be in a moist environment. The materials that you load
into your Aerobin should have sufficient moisture so that when squeezed they
feel like a moist sponge or mop. If the biomass is too wet, then the microbes
will drown and anaerobic bacteria will take over. If too dry the microbes die
and the process stops. These microbes are just like us - what sustains us also
sustains these guys!.
c. You need variety for successful composting!
The surest way to avoid overloading the biomass with too much of the one
material is to mix all materials together as much as possible. This avoids
concentrations of material that may not help the balance of the biomass within
your Aerobin. A good mix also means that moisture levels are not going to be
too extreme and air is available through the biomass.
d. Why are odors important?
Odors can tell you how your compost is working:-
If it’s a fresh earthy smell -
this means the composting process is working well - it may even have a sweet
smell - well done!
If there is no smell at all -
this means that your biomass as a whole is either too dry or there is a layer
or more creating a physical barrier to the airflow and there is nothing
happening. You will need to remix this material (empty your Aerobin) to achieve
more balance and variety. Add higher nitrogen materials like lawn cuttings or
kitchen waste or fresh leaves so that your biomass then feels like a moist
sponge when squeezed.
If there is a distinct rotten egg smell - this means that you biomass has
gone or is going anaerobic - probably because there is too much moisture and
nitrogen rich materials present. Again you will need to empty your Aerobin and
remix this biomass adding scrunched balls of newspaper and cardboard or dried
lawn clippings or leaves until you achieve that moist sponge measure.
HOW SHOULD I GET STARTED?
It makes sense if you kick start the operation of your Aerobin by following
these suggestions. Its not essential but it will simply hasten the composting
effort in your Aerobin:-
Firstly load into the base of the Aerobin a 10cm layer of either dried leaves
or twigs or product from the nursery like Sugar Cane Mulch. This protects the
drainage floor from blockages while you start your composting effort. If you
are already composting and have healthy compost available simply load a 10cm
layer into the Aerobin.
Seed your bin with a moist active compost - this can be purchased from your
local garden center or nursery (making sure that it is not sterilized). This
will add healthy levels of microbes to your Aerobin.
c. Then begin adding your ingredients to the Aerobin. But before you do
this check out the Compost Simulator available on the website.
YOUR INGREDIENTS WILL DIFFER TO THE NEIGHBOR NEXT DOOR AND REGIONALLY THERE
WILL BE DIFFERENCES!
So here are some likely situations and recipes:-
a. Lots of loose dry leaves (lower nitrogen content) and grass cuttings (higher
Mix 2 parts leaves with 3 parts lawn cuttings. Load this mix into the Aerobin
say in layers of 10-15cm. Between each layer then add balled (scrunched),
shredded or strips of newspaper.
b. Mixing garden waste with household kitchen waste
Mix equal amounts of fresh leaves, dry leaves, lawn cuttings, pruning's and
kitchen waste. It works well if you intermittently place 10-20cm strips of
cardboard vertically into the biomass pile, to create air pockets, however this
is more desirable than essential.
c. Mainly kitchen scraps (higher nitrogen) and no garden organic waste
Every time you achieve a layer of these mixed ingredients that is 10-15cm high
in the Aerobin, then add a layer of balled (scrunched), shredded or strips of
newspaper (never sheets) or mix the balled newspaper into the kitchen scraps
and load together into your Aerobin - say 1 part balled newspaper to 4 parts
kitchen scraps. Alternatively place 10 - 20cm strips of cardboard vertically
into the biomass pile to create air pockets.
d. If you have lots of fruit waste (high nitrogen and perhaps too much moisture
This is generally too moist and possibly low in nitrogen. Mix 1 part fruit
waste with 1 part other kitchen waste for extra nitrogen and 1 part dried
leaves or newspaper to reduce the moisture content.
e. You live on a farm or a you have access to manures (high nitrogen and
sometimes too wet)
Manures can be good for compost, particularly Horse and Cow manure. When
dealing with manures, be careful to balance moisture as well as nitrogen as
both are important.
Horse manure/rotten cow manure: Mix 3 parts manure to 1 part dried leaves.
Fresh Cow manure: Mix 1 part cow manure to 1 part wood chips or 1 part loose
and course dried leaves.
Sheep manure: Mix 1 part sheep manure to 1 part wood chips or 1 part loose and
course dried leaves.
Stable manure: Mix 3 parts stable manure to 1 part fresh leaves and 1 part
scrunched paper or shredded cardboard.
Chicken manure: Mix 1 part chicken manure to 1 part paper and cardboard and 3
parts fresh leaves or substitute 3 parts leaves with 1 part fruit waste
SOME FINAL HINTS
It is common to have large amounts of paper and garden waste on the weekends
and kitchen waste during the week. To maintain more balance, store paper,
leaves and cardboard near the Aerobin on the weekend so it can be added evenly
during the week. If your garden produces lots of leaf and lawn materials, try
to store them to one side so they are mixed in even amounts with vegetable
Don’t add glossy prints or magazines as this may contain toxic pigments.
Ensure egg shells or bulky items are crushed or broken up.
The smaller the particle size the better - they will simply compost quicker.
You will obtain the best results from your Aerobin if it is loaded to at least
50% of its capacity.
Mulch heavier green waste materials or if you don't have access to a mulcher,
lay this material on your lawn and run the lawn mower over it - it will break
most light pruning's down to a size that will compost quicker.
Go to the Aerobin website (www.aerobin400.com) and access the software
"Simulating composting in your Aerobin". This software enables you to simulate
the balance between Carbon & Nitrogen, Moisture levels and the Biomass
Density. Aim for the middle of the 'green bands' - and remember these results
are a reasonable prediction of how your composting effort will run if you add
the same materials and at the same volumes (weight) that you have inputted into
the software simulation. If you change ingredients (adding some thing new)
re-run the program based on the changes you intend making.
Open the 2 Access Doors regularly to ensure ease of opening the doors is
maintained. This limits the biomass pressure on the internal ledge of the Door
(this ledge carries the CO2 filter breather holes) and is a good way for you to
maintain an eye on the progress of your composting effort.
i. Occasionally backwash the Leachate Tank using your garden hose or probe with a
small screwdriver to ensure that there are no blockages in the Leachate Tank
Always ensure that the Aerobin is installed on a solid foundation - never
install your Aerobin on soil only. Its no different to a house - the
foundations of the house determine the stability and integrity of the house
structure - the same applies with your Aerobin
The mature compost can be used in one of two ways. As a ground cover in your
garden beds, vegetable beds or flower pots or dug into the soil. Both ways will
add nutrients and micro organisms to your soil and increase the water
l. Leachate that you collect from the Leachate Tank should be diluted
20:1 with water, before you use this natural fertilizer on your garden beds,
lawns, vegetable beds or flower pots.
Aerobic composting has basic needs and is a living process. How you operate your
Aerobin will determine the efficiency and the effectiveness of the composting
effort in your Aerobin (and for that matter pretty much any Composting device).
Composting has been with us for millions of years. Aerobin is simply a device
that provides an environment that supports Aerobic Composting. All that you
have to do is to ensure that you follow the simple recipes and provide the
necessary balance of ingredients essential to successful Aerobic Composting.
Good luck & good composting