The HotBin Compost
Victoria Scarisbrick

Member Article

The HotBin is launched November 2011

The brand new HotBin is fresh off the production line today which is great news for gardeners and those keen to recycle more food waste in their own backyard. It has been designed and developed by Morpeth based AC Innovations Ltd which has been supported by Northstar Ventures throughout.

After taking early redundancy from Sage, Tony Callaghan set out to design a composting bin that would overnight reverse how much waste each household was actually sending to landfill. He has spent two years battling with science and technology to create a composting bin that simply lets you put more food and garden waste in.

Tony’s passion for environmental science was reignited after he was told by his wife that if he didn’t sort out his own unruly, overflowing composting bin there would be trouble - she didn’t know then what a challenge she had actually set her husband. However, after a frustrating start, Tony built a prototype out of an old wheelie bin in his garden by going back to the basics of industrial composting engineering science.

Once Tony solved his own problem, he realised he actually had a commercial opportunity on his hands. He was helped by Dr Richard Exley, Head of The Finance for Business North East Proof of Concept (POC) Fund at Northstar Ventures to get his idea tested. To allow AC Innovations to take the HotBin idea into the reality of production, Northstar Ventures invested over £170,000 of POC funds into the company.

Garden Organic tested the HotBin for its ease of use, effectiveness and quality of compost produced in their research field at Ryton Gardens. The tests were a huge success.

They highlighted that during the trials there was little odour associated with the HotBin, virtually no flies and no problems with rodents, all major concerns when adding food waste to a compost bin. Garden Organic was satisfied that because the HotBin’s temperatures could be maintained, it could provide significant sanitisation of waste that includes cooked food.

Jane Griffiths, Sustainable Waste Manager at Garden Organic, Ryton who tested the HotBin against a leading competitor said, “The HotBin processed a very challenging food waste mix into compost after 90 days. During the trial we were really impressed that when checking the temperature it read 60°C when the outside temperature was around 10°C.”

Callaghan, Managing Director, AC Innovations Ltd said, “I enjoy solving problems and seeing the impact of the solution. I set out to design a composting bin that solves the three most common home composting problems. Home composting has historically been restricted by the limitation on the types of food you can actually compost, the time it takes to get results and the effects of odour that attracts unwanted visitors.”

“The HotBin recycles more types of food waste, including meat and fish unlike traditional home composting methods as it actually stays hot. The clever design ensures there are no odours, flies or rats to worry about. And the controlled, constant temperature along with the effective aeration allows the HotBin to effortlessly reduce and recycle food and garden waste into great compost all year round.”

Dr Richard Exley, from Northstar Ventures said, “Tony has been dedicated and steadfast in his determination to produce a home composting solution that he can make and sell in high volume at an affordable price to allow more households to recycle more food and garden waste effectively. One of the roles of the North East Proof of Concept Fund is to support innovative projects which have the potential to create significant new commercial opportunities. I think the HotBin will shake up the home composting market; gardeners will love the speed at which they achieve rich compost and keen recyclers will be impressed by its environmental benefits.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Victoria Scarisbrick .

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