The Home Composter

How to Compost

Compost safely

Which bin to choose?

Your compost ingredients

Empty your compost bin

To turn or not to turn?

How long to compost?

Worms & Wormeries

Compost kitchen waste

Prickly prunings

Weeds and weeds

Too much grass

Leaves for Leafmould

Seasonal Tips


Unwelcome Guests

Leaflets to download

How warm is your home compost bin in winter?

Compost thermometerOn a cold, dank January day when the air temperature is a chilly 4C the material in a home compost bin can be a warm 13C - Providing the bin is actively working.

Composting goes through 2 phases, an initial hot process and a secondary cool one. It is this first hot phase that you need to make your bin warm in winter. To achieve this you need to
keep adding lots of fresh green material:
cabbage leaves and sprout trimmings are good and donít forget that weeds grow in a mild spell and can safely be added to your bin.
Other moist, juicy material like fruit skins and potato peelings will help.
The micro-organisms breaking down this fresh material generate heat as they work. If you donít add any fresh stuff for them to use they die.
Dry, woody material has to be worked on by fungi before the other creatures in the heap can break it down and fungi donít generate much warmth.
So make sure you add at least as much moist, sappy stuff as dry stalky material. But do add some drier things like soft paper or card as those picky micro-organisms will drown if the fresh material is soggy and slimy.

A lid to your compost bin will help keep in the warmth and protect the material from frost and snow. But take care the surface of the heap doesnít get dry. Those micro-organisms need a moist environment to function, they cannot colonise dry stalks.
Leave the lid off the bin on a mild rainy day.

The larger your bin the warmer it will be. Not only does a large volume of material retain heat better than a small volume but in a large heap there will also be more micro-organisms working away and giving off heat in the process.

Even weak, winter sun will help to warm part of the material. So site your bin where it will be in the sun for at least an hour or two even in January.
This is especially important if you have a small bin which will need all the help it can get.

So your compost bin may be warmer than you thought. Keep adding to it and the micro-organisms will keep breaking down your kitchen and garden waste.

Composting problem?
 Contact us if you would like us to answer your query. We'll try to give a helpful answer!

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More information about recycling can be found on :
 Scottish Borders Council Reduce Reuse Recycle