I really wanted to like the HotBin, I did. It's been well over a year since I started to trial this new composter, and in my initial review, I was excited about the HotBin's claims to safely compost all kinds of food at a temperature of 60C.
And yet ... a few months later, my HotBin was sitting forlorn, half-filled with semi-rotted stuff. The main problem was the hatch at the bottom: once I'd opened it once, I couldn't fix it back in place properly, and it kept falling out. The folks from HotBin sent me straps to hold the door in place, but that made opening the hatch a hassle.* And even if the hatch was working like a dream, the HotBin suffers from a downside common to this type of composter: the opening is awkward to get to. It's hard to get a spade inside for unloading finished compost, so I found myself down on my knees scooping out the compost with my gloved hands while wet compost smeared my forehead. Not good.
Plus, it's ugly: this can also be said of many of the other composters on the market, but for anyone with a small garden where there is no place to hide away less beauteous pieces of kit, this counts.
So, my HotBin adventures are over. My trial model has now gone to a new home at a local school garden, where I hope they'll be able to make better use of it. And me? I am going back to my beehive composters. They don't solve the problem of what to do with the cooked food that can't go into a "cold"compost system, but for that I have trench composting (a technical term of burying food waste underground). And they're much easier to access, because each layer of the wooden beehive structure comes apart, making turning and "harvesting" compost a simple task.
My wormeries, too, are keepers: they are far smaller than the HotBin, and I find managing them far easier: plus you have the valuable byproduct of "worm juice" which can be used as a plant tonic (once diluted) in addition to the worm compost.
I'd love to know whether other HotBin owners have had a better time with their composter: and what composting systems you use. With peat-based compost looking ever-more unsustainable, it's vital that we all renew our efforts to make as much compost at home as we can.
*Since my HotBin was made, I believe further adjustments have been made to the design, which may have solved the hatch issue.