Trying to be Dustbin-Free - maybe with a Hotbin?

I’m trying to completely do away with the black-bag/dustbin stuff.

Mostly, what seems to be going in there nowadays are used kitchen roll and tissues - both of which I have been told cannot go into the sac jaune, nor down the loo.

Any ideas for alternatives (I’m already searching for my supply of cotton hankies)

Are they not compostable (don’t know if that’s a real word🤔)

Apparently not - at a local meeting, we were told very firmly to put them in the black sacks.

They rot down perfectly well in my compost heap - especially if there’s plenty of fruit / veg peelings etc.

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I have home composted paper kitchen towels quite successfully but they are mixed with fruit and veg peelings, green garden waste and chicken (and parrot) poo as a good activator, but paper does need to have quitea lot of wet material with it or it wont break down well.

I can imagine you are told to put in black sacks rather than the recycling ones. But they are compostable in home compost heap when mixed 40:60 with other green stuff.

I cut up old tea towels into smallish squares/rectangles, and hemmed them. The nicest/prettiest ones are used instead of paper napkins. Other fill the place of kitchen roll and other similar things. Then they go in the wash…

Our black bag is fish bones and fish wrappers, tiny bits of plastic like the foil and plastic strips that some pills come in, the hoover bags once we’ve cut them open and put the contents on the compost heap, the heads of toothbrushes, and broken biros. And alternative solutions for any of them would be welcomed…

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Bamboo toothbrushes, pencils or fountain pens instead of biros. I hate biros. We use napkins and wash them, linen or cotton cloths (cotton towelling squares in packs of 10 from IKEA), cotton drawstring bags instead of plastic ones for fruit/ veg /loose grains etc shopping.

I remember bin bags being made of brown paper (in London, when I was little). I wish they still were.

Mind you though I try to be green I fail miserably because I still use a lot of electricity one way or another and do a 60km daily round trip to work in an otherwise empty car because there is no public transport and nobody with whom to carshare.

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I swapped over to bamboo toothbrushes after your tip…but they say to remove the head and just put the handle in to compost?

And I hate biros, but am still using up a small mountain that appeared out of every corner of our old house when we moved…where do they come from!

I do the same, re: kitchen paper towel, fruit & veg peelings are taken to the compost heap wrapped in the wet kitchen paper. It must be working because this year the tomatoes, courgettes and sunflowers growing out of the compost are looking much more healthier and bigger than the ones grown in the potager!

I’ve cut back as much as poss with plastic packaging; though I’m sure there’s still room for improvement. I have cotton bags for shopping, & take my own glass bottles to the “marché de producteurs” for my milk.
Toothbrushes / biros etc. end up in the “miscellaneous” box in the workshop
Anything / everything else (that the chooks can’t eat) is burned &/or composted…even kitchen roll.

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We’re not allowed to burn rubbish of any type…

But do your hens eat fish bones?

It gets burnt in the fireplace, & spread on the garden

Hens eat anything, even fish bones & other hens if pushed

And if you burn non compostable in the fireplace the Ash can be used in the potager. The chickens like Ash as a dust bath to keep off red mites and chucks also like the little bits of charcoal.


Paper is made from wood, so it can go into your compost. I wasn’t aware of it myself, until recently.

Intent on replacing kitchen roll and nose-tissues with washable cloths.

Unable to totally stop using tissues in the garage at the moment and, after wiping up grease/oil etc, they are not suitable for compost - so might have to keep a dustbin bag just for these. Burning is not an option.

Anyone heard of these Hotbins ??

I saw a sign some weeks back - a box at the shop entrance for old biros… now I just need to remember where.

In the meantime, biros and toothbrushes go in the Recyclable…

Yes, a friend in the UK tried one after they got a great review in the paper. Said it was good if you had a steady supply of the right material, so need a lot of shredded paper, bark, wood chippings or similar as you have to keep it aerobic. Just kitchen waste alone and she got slime. So it does take regular work and you have to be prepared to micromanage your bin.

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Not too much tho’, as can make soil unbalanced. We are on calcareous soil as well, so have to be careful not to make it more alkaline anyway. And don’t use it round acid loving plants…

trouble is we only have a tiny “divorced” garden. I’m working on a compost heap to one side of it. Not much in the way of grass cuttings, mostly lemon skins, teabags, apple cores and egg shells. The odd weed or two is also giving a hand.

No idea if it will work out, but determined to give it a go.

One small step today - we did NOT buy any more kitchen rolls… yippee.