Do I Have Enough Waste to Maintain a Hot Composting?

Do I Have Enough Waste to Maintain a Hot Composting?

HOTBIN's compost aerobically and are designed to maintain temperatures between 40-60°C. Hot composting also allows you to compost a wider variety of waste such as cooked food, bones and weeds as at these higher temperatures pathogens and weeds seeds are destroyed.

How Can You Achieve Hot Composting Temperatures?

The secret to maintaining the hot temperatures is you and how regularly you add waste to the bin each week. The minimum waste requirement varies depending on the model of HOTBIN you are operating. This is a very important factor when deciding which HOTBIN to purchase, for example:

  • HOTBIN Mini 100 you require a minimum of 2.5kg or 5 litres of waste,
    (that’s approx. half a large or 1 small kitchen caddy full per week).

  • HOTBIN 200 you require a minimum of 5kg or 10 litres of waste,
    (that’s approx. 1 large or 2 small kitchen caddies full per week.

  • HOTBIN Mega 450/700 you require minimum weekly waste to stay hot 20kg or 40ltrs = 1 mower box or ½ a barrow

This amount can be made up of both kitchen and garden waste. The better the diversity of waste types the more effectively the HOTBIN will work.

Please note. Don't wait until you have a full caddy of waste before you feed you HOTBIN, feed you bin whatever waste you have available every 2 to 3 days.

What Happens if I Have Less Than The Minimum Waste?

Nothing bad will happen, but the HOTBIN will only stay hot working optimally with regular feeding of the minimum amount of waste.

If you have less waste, you may still be able to use the HOTBIN Mini; however it is likely it will operate at a lower temperature (between 20-40°C for example) meaning that the waste will take longer to breakdown. So you would produce compost in 3 to 6 months instead of 30 to 90 days.

The lower temperature mean you will also be unable to compost certain wastes like cooked food, weeds, bones, pet waste etc. as the heat will likely not be high enough to safely and successfully compost these waste types.

You may find this customer case study of interest:
Learn how Margaret operates her HOTBIN Mini in a small, paved garden and what she has learnt along the way.

Does it Matter if The Temperature Falls Below 40°C?

If you wish to produce compost as quickly as possible in 30 to 90 days then it does matter. However if you only produce a small amount of waste and are happy to be more patient then it doesn't matter at all.

The temperature will always fluctuate, depending on time if year, frequency of feeding, waste type and amount of waste. HOTBIN will still be actively composting if the heap is over 10°C. See the diagram below, composting is 4x faster at 30°C and 8x faster at 40°C. 

There will be occasions where the temperature will drop lower than 40°C, for instance when you go on holiday. Follow our guidelines on how to deal with your bin before and after your holiday here.

How Much Waste Does a Typical Household Produce?

Every household is different in terms of the food and garden waste they produce. In the table below we use a simple scale of small, medium or large to act as a guide.

  Small Medium Large
Household Size

1-2 people
1 small caddy, about 2.5kg
(5 litres)of food waste per week

3-5 People
2 small caddies, about 5kg
(10 litres) of food waste a week
5-10 people
1 large caddy 5 kg (15-30 litres)
of food waste every 2 days.

Garden Size


Grass (Lawn)

None or very small.


Less than two boxes per week

Medium garden generating cuttings, pruning’s and leaves etc.
A clear up generates a wheel barrow load.

2-4 boxes of grass a week

Large garden generating cutting, pruning’s, many autumn leaves, enough tree/woody plants to possibly warrant a shredder. A clear up fills 1m3 pallet type bin.

More than 2 boxes of grass a week

Current ‘cold’ compost use Not enough waste to fill 1 plastic cone composter. Need at least 2-3 plastic cone composters which always seem full. Probably 2-3 large (1m3/each) pallet/compost heaps.
HOTBIN Units You are unlikely to have enough waste to keep the original 200ltr HOTBIN hot. However you should have enough to maintain a good temperature in the HOTBIN Mini

The best size in this case is likely the HOTBIN 200

The HOTBIN is designed for a medium household (3-5) people with a small to medium sized garden.
Likely to need 1 or a HOTBIN Mega to handle the large volume of waste.


If you are unsure how much waste you generate in volume terms it may help to know that the average 4 person household with a medium garden generates roughly 250kg of food waste and 300-400kg of green garden waste per year. This equals approximately 500-1000 litres of waste in total per year.


If you are looking to compost both kitchen and garden waste in the HOTBIN we would advise measuring the volume of kitchen waste rather than your ‘garden waste’ volumes. During winter most people have less garden waste and so you will need the volume of kitchen waste to keep the HOTBIN running at hot composting temperatures.

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