By Janet in Headingley

I’ve been ‘hot composting’ for nearly 2 years now since I moved to Leeds.  I use a Green Johanna hot composting system which uses the sun’s energy to speed up the composting process.  This means I can compost cooked and uncooked food waste as well as vegetable peelings and garden cuttings.  Since we started using the Green Johanna our black bin waste has reduced to 1-2 small bin bags a fortnight.  It has also produced some lovely compost.

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How it works…the Green Johanna

We have a small green caddy in the kitchen to collect food waste (veg peelings, coffee, uncooked and cooked meat, even chicken carcasses).  When this is full we put it into the Green Johanna and add some garden clippings (grass, twigs or leaves) or some cardboard/shredded paper.  We keep loading it like this and every now and again stir the contents of the bin. 

It is a bit different to a normal ‘dalek’ composter in a couple of ways:

  • it uses the sun’s energy to raise the temperature and speed up the composting process.  The higher temperatures mean that you can put in all food waste – cooked and uncooked – as well as grass and other garden waste. 
  • it has a mesh at the bottom.  This means that worms can work their way up to help the composting process but stops rodents getting in.   

What I like about it?

  • I can put all my kitchen waste into the bin including cooked and uncooked food.
  • We’re putting much less waste in the black bin.
  • All of our household has got the hang of it quickly – so we’re putting lots into the Green Johanna.
  • There’s a good handy sheet which explains how to keep it working well.
  • No sign of any rodent activity 🙂

What I had to learn?

  • It took a little time working out the ‘recipe’ for it working well – one third garden waste to two thirds food waste is fine.
  • The whole household had to learn what could go in to the Green Johanna;
  • To have some garden waste by the compost bin ready to add when we emptied the green caddy.
  • Although it uses the sun’s energy to work, it needed to go in a shady spot so it doesn’t overheat.

It is an investment as a Green Johanna costs £120+ but I’m really happy that we’re putting less waste in the black bins.  It also feels good that we’re turning waste into something valuable which will help our garden flourish.