Today the ‘compost and legionnaires disease’ story ‘broke’ on national BBC Radio2 news.
We should really say resurfaced after some background work in Scotland onto an earlier case in 2010 was published: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-18206191,Please keep in mind the risks are exceedingly small – there are an estimated 30m gardeners, 5m active composters, 1 billon bags of compost sold and just 3 cases over past 5 years with a potential link to gardening/compost.
There are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria all around you every day in the atmosphere, on your food and in water. Legionnella is one of the bad guys found in water (rivers and lakes) and water droplets. We normally here about it from outbreaks in poorly maintained water systems where it grows when conditions are warm (20-30C) and stagnant. Below 20C is grows very slowly and above 40C, it is either ‘out competed’ by thermophilic bacteria (40-60C) or killed off by heat (eg hot water above >45C).
Life is never risk free – in our opinion this is a very rare risk present in any forms of water, is rare in composting and should be even rarer in a well maintained hot composting system.
You can find more background on legionnaires at NHS here: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Legionnaires-disease/Pages/Introduction.aspx
P.S. We think the article title ‘wash off compost’ is hopelessly misleading – you can’t wash compost and as legionnella is water borne; adding water is likely to make the situation worse!
We recently completed a large scale survey of HOTBIN users.
The summary of results can be found at:
Users also commented on the HOTBINs functionality.
“The square shape is deal for tucking into the corner of a garden, better than round plastic one that must be put on soil base. I like the easy to lift up lid which makes it easier to use when you have a bag of compostable waste in one hand.”
“It is very easy to fill & manage the composting process. The Thermometers are particularly helpful”.
“It has increased the through-put of material which was not fast enough previously. (And the compost steams when you open the lid!)”
Why they liked HOTBIN composting.
“It takes me a step closer to the Good Life”.
“I’m able to recycle my own food waste and produce a useful product”.
“I compost already, but this gives me the ability to compost all year round, and compost food waste as well as garden waste”.
And in summary we couldn’t have put it better ourselves,
“It quickly converts waste into good stuff for the garden.”
The end of one era and the start of a new.
This week HOTBIN HQ cleared out all the old prototype bins used over the past two years in developing the HOTBIN.
(These are just two of the early prototypes! – It took three trips in all to the recycle centre).
Obviously it was sad to see them thrown into the ‘plastics’ collection skip as they have been a big part our learning curve. However, as well as ‘clearing up’ some space it seemed the right time.
We are about to close our first six months trading and selling the HOTBIN.
It’s been a great start, we can only estimate how much all our HOTBIN users have diverted, but we think about 100,000 Kg (100 metric tonnes) of food waste in the last six months. If we carry on growing we think this could be 500,000 Kg by this time next year.
For those interested in getting good compost fast for the garden – that’s about 1,400 bags of compost.
HOTBIN users are choosing to make a difference.
Go HOTBIN users!