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Green Cone: DIY alternatives


 
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Good guy
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


Joined: 11 Feb 2013
Posts: 2356
Location: Donegal

PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 2:10 pm    Post subject: Green Cone: DIY alternatives Reply with quote

Has anyone had any experience of using a Green Cone food waste digester or of making a DIY alternative?

https://www.howbertandmays.ie/accessories/green-cone-ireland

Our local authority is gradually introducing the separation of food waste from the waste stream (about time they all did!). We don't make much food waste anyway, through careful shopping and standard composting but I'd be happy to deal with all our food waste on site if I had a digester. The thing is, the Green Cone seems to be the only commercially available one and is ridiculously expensive at almost 140 for a couple of kilos of polypropylene.
I'm wondering - how important, in our climate, is the double-wall construction? It surely couldn't be too hard to make something similar in operation from readily available plastic components that are fairly simple to modify?
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tippben
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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right so. You have an underground element. Supermarket shopping baskets, or any other kind of strong wire mesh would do the same job. Above ground, you basically have a "dalek" compost bin. That could be replaced by one of the 210 litre blue barrels with lids that dairy farmers have. Dig a hole, attach wire mesh stuff to bottom of barrel, using jigsaw to cut a hole in the base. Bury it. Put a heavy weight on the lid. You only need to keep stinks from getting out, and rats from getting in. That's what I'd try anyway.
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baabamaal
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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi GG

I have two regular flatpack composters (heavier spec than the black Lidl ones) buried up a foot in stone (into an out of the way part of a gravel drive). The stone is about three foot deep. There are two of us in the house, all (and I mean all) our food waste goes into it, mixed with waste paper and cardboard at the kitchen caddy stage. I don't use accelerators or anything else. There is very little compost produced but that is the point- I have an array of pallets (or "New Zealand composters" if you prefer) for all the green waste and that is where I get my compost from.

In the four years I have them set up, I have had to empty them once, although I may need to do it again this year. They have become self regulating food digesters, and there has been no smell (unless you literally stick your head down into the composter), no leacheate (liquids just drain away) and I had one visit by rats who managed to dig through the stone. I have since compacted the stone a bit more with no further visits.

I don't know whether I am just fortunate or not, but this system is working a treat. I don't have a waste collection at all, I get to large recycling centre once a year with the trailer loaded up with recyclables and well-washed residual waste, so I really didn't want to have to set up one just for the brown bin. This isn't a hippy dippy scheme by the way, I did it as an experiment for largely the same reasons as yourself and am still somewhat surprised at the results. My job involves talking to people about composting and waste reduction, so I can't recommend this for everybody, but if you have the space and the inclination it is certainly worth a try, even with one composter to start with. You can adapt to your conditions by mimicking the basket with the green cone with thick mesh etc. The trick in my opinion is to scale up capacity so that even though the rate of decomposition is slower, you can still deal with all the food. The green cone is a bit of a scam in that they're trying to get you hooked on the "magic" powder that they sell (another accelerator easily replicated with a shovel of topsoil that already contains the same aerobic bacteria).
You have kind enough to respond to some of my questions previously- hope this helps by return!
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baabamaal
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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think Tippben has a better way with words than me Very Happy
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Greengage
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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

139 euros to throw rubbish in Have you lost the plot.
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Good guy
Rank attained: Chlorophyll for blood


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Location: Donegal

PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, everyone, for your replies.
Greengage, I think it's the marketers of the Green Cone who have lost the plot, if they think rational people are going to pay that kind of money!
I'm very happy with the replies from Baabamaal for her practical experience and Tippben for the construction suggestions. Your way with words is perfectly good, Bbm!
I'd already been thinking along the lines of a sunken laundry basket and a conical composter ( I already have the latter) as a way to go. But I'd wondered about the 'solar power' and double wall construction mentioned in the publicity blurb, suspecting it was guff. You have confirmed my suspicions!
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Blowin
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PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 5:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used to do quite a bit of fishing and there was a saying that 'fishing tackle catches more fishermen than fish'. Gardening is another world where the sales people have a field day with creating 'must have' fads.

For years, and much to the disgust of the compost officionados, I've emptied our kitchen waste bin straight on to the compost heap - AND I never turned it! Being surrounded by open farmland, we see the odd rat anyway but set traps for them regularly and the heap is 40-odd yards away down the bottom of the garden. This year, to add nutrient to my runner bean set up (described previously), I put half a plastic bin down over the central pole (the bin was an old municipal rubbish/bruscar bin I found on a rubbish tip) and I've been emptying food waste into that. The top sinks down quite quickly so there's always room for the next kitchen bin load and no rats have been seen. At least I'm getting some 'value' out of the material and the moisture is always welcome by beans.

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