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Designed and manufactured in New Zealand, the Hungry Bin is a fast and convenient way to compost your food scraps. The innovative design is highly efficient and can process up to 2.0 kgs (4.4 lbs) of waste per day.
The Hungry Bin creates an ideal living environment for compost worms. The worms quickly convert organic waste into castings and a nutrient-rich liquid, which are both high-quality natural fertilizers.
The patented tapered shape of the body compresses the castings, encouraging the worms to move to the surface layer to access fresh food. It is a simple process to collect both the castings and liquid produced by the Hungry Bin.
Worms and bedding are required for the Hungry Bin. Bedding can be purchased at your local garden supply store.
How to use?
How to use?
- Fill the bin ¾ full with moist bedding material
- Start with at least 500gm of live worms
- Add finely chopped food scraps
- Cover with hessian sack or damp newspaper
Bedding material is needed to settle the worms into their new home. Compost, humus, soil, potting mix or coconut fibre can all be used to bed the compost worms into the bin. Take care to ensure that the bedding material you use to start the bin is free draining.
Place the bedding material directly into the bottom of the bin. It is best to fill the bin ¾ full with the bedding material. Two × 40 litre bags (80 litres) of commercially available compost mix or potting mix is an ideal amount of bedding material.
Moisten the bedding material with some water, but don’t saturate it. The bedding should be as wet as a wrung-out sponge. Add the worms to the top of the bedding material and cover with approximately 2.5cm (1in) of food scraps (preferably finely chopped). The amount of food you add each day will depend on your starting worm population.
For more information on how to get started, read this Startup Timeline Instructions.
Why Epic loves it
Why Epic loves it
Greentools is the North American distributor of the Hungry Bin, with two facilities in British Columbia and California. They strive to provide products that enhance sustainability, embodying a commitment to a greener, more eco-friendly world.
In that light, Hungry Bin was developed to provide customers with a fast and easy way to compost their food waste into moisture and nutrient-retentive worm castings.
Everything about the Hungry Bin is geared toward efficiency and simplicity, from its tapered shape, to its stackable, tiered structure, which encourages worms to move to the surface layer to access fresh food.
Very little work is required to set up and use the Hungry Bin. Its high-capacity can handle and process up to 2.0 kgs (4.4 lbs) of waste per day, and each bin is made of a durable heavy-duty plastic that will last for years.
Not only is this an easy-to-use, long-lasting product, but it’s also one of the cleanest worm bins out there. Tight-fitting lids keep out flies and rodents, and an integrated drip tray catches droppings, keeping your composting area squeaky clean.
Q: How to get the best results?
A: Our worms are of the highest quality and are supplied ready to be placed into your bin. Worms are harvested to order, so they will arrive in the best condition possible. Although the worms have a shelf life of up to two weeks, to get the best results, we recommend installing them into your bin immediately.
For best results we recommend starting the hungry bin with a minimum of 500g of live worms. You can start the bin with fewer worms, but it will take longer for the population to grow and reach maximum capacity. At maximum capacity a hungry bin has approximately 3 kg of adult worms present.
Harvest your own worms
You can start the hungry bin with compost worms dug out of existing worm farms, compost heaps or harvested from the natural environment. Wild compost worms can live in lawns, fields and under trees and you may be able to harvest some to start your bin. A good way to attract compost worms is to make a thin layer of food scraps on the ground in a suitable location and cover it with sackcloth. Add fresh food scraps every week. After a few weeks you will notice worms beginning to appear – these can be harvested and placed in your hungry bin. Compost worms are fast breeders. Under ideal conditions they will double their numbers every three months.
Q: What are compost worms?
A: Compost worms are different from common garden worms that live in soil. Unlike earthworms, compost worms do not make burrows in the soil, but live in the surface layer (the top 30 cm or 12 in). They have evolved to eat rotting plant matter on the forest floor, and are perfectly suited to break down organic waste. Compost worms are generally smaller than earthworms.
Tiger worms (Eisenia foetida), red worms (Lumbricus rubellus) and Indian blue worms (Perionyx excavatus) are the most common worms used for composting.
Q: Help, my bin’s starting to smell…
A: If your hungry bin is starting to smell, or the food is rotting before the worms can eat it, add a fine layer of fibrous brown material each time you feed the worms to help balance the bin. You can also sprinkle a fine layer of soil or potting mix into the bin to help balance it. A diet of food scraps can be too rich for the worms unless the scraps already contain plenty of fibre (lots of vegetable stalks for example), in which case you won’t have to add as much to keep your worms healthy and your bin smelling sweet.
The food in the hungry bin needs to have the right ratio of carbon to nitrogen for the bin to be most effective. The ideal carbon to nitrogen ratio for a worm farm is 20:1, however food scraps can often have a ratio of 12:1. To balance the ratio of carbon to nitrogen, some extra material high in carbon may need to be added to the bin.
Fibrous materials are carbon-rich, which also help balance the higher level of nitrogen in food scraps. Also referred to as bulk or roughage – fibre doesn’t tend to break down and rot as quickly as food scraps. It includes paper or cardboard, dead leaves, sawdust or wood shavings, vegetable stalks, old grass clippings (brown).
The bin may also develop an unpleasant smell if it has become too acidic. Sprinkle a small amount of dolomite lime or rock dust on the top layer to help reduce the acidity of the bin. Adding fibre to the food when you are putting it in the bin may also help reduce problems with acidity.
Q: Should I add water?
A: Generally you should not need to add water to the hungry bin. Food scraps have a high water content, which helps keep the bin moist. The design lets excess water drain from the bin, but ensures enough moisture is retained to maintain optimal conditions. The worms do need to be moist though, so if the bin has dried out, sprinkle a little water on the top of the bin. If you have added dry matter like shredded paper you may also need to add water. Take care not to drown the worms, the top should only be as wet as a wrung-out sponge.
If you are not getting much liquid it may be evaporating before you get a chance to use it. In this case you can place a suitable jug or bottle under the floor to catch the juice. Placing a funnel in the neck of a bottle will help catch the juice.
Q: How much liquid should my bin produce?
A: The bin will produce about half a liter (one pint) of liquid a day when it has a full worm population and is fed regularly. It is important that the liquid is free to drain from the bin at all times.
If liquid from your bin is not collecting in the drip tray, it may be too dry. See Should I add water? The filter tray may also have become blocked with paper or plastic if this has been placed in the bin. Remove the floor and check the filter. Check that the bin is not exposed to intense sun for long periods and move to a shadier spot if necessary.
The liquid fertilizer should be mixed one part with 10 parts water before being sprinkled onto the soil around plants.
Q: My worms are trying to escape …
A: Sometimes worms will cluster at the top of the bin, and on the underside of the lid, if it is about to rain. This is a natural response to prevent them from drowning in the wild, or to migrate to fresh food when the ground is wet. They will return down into the surface layer when the rain has passed.
If the conditions in the bin are unfavorable the worms will also try to migrate. This is usually caused by overfeeding, or if the food has become too acidic. However, if you keep the lid on as recommended, it is almost impossible for them to escape. Occasionally a worm may fall from the bin into the drip tray, especially if castings have recently been removed.
If the food is too wet the worms will look fat and pale. Add some dry leaves or shredded paper. Gently use a fork to turn the top layer and create some drain holes on the surface.
If heavy rain is flooding your bin try moving it to a more sheltered location.
Q: Going on holiday?
A: The hungry bin can be left for two to four weeks without fresh food. Adding shredded paper, dead leaves or dry lawn clippings to the food for a week or two before you go away helps the food last longer. Moisten the material after you have added it to the bin. If you are on holiday for longer you may need to arrange to have the worms fed while you are away.
Q: Flies, ants and other insects
A: The hungry bin is designed to prevent pests from entering. However, it is a living ecosystem and some small beneficial insects can exist in the bin quite happily. Sometimes these other insects are eating food the worms don’t like or prefer not to eat. Insects may also be present in food scraps that are introduced to the bin, e.g. fruit fly larvae.
The food in the bin will naturally attract other creatures. Sometimes insects like white fly are attracted to the bin because the food is too acidic. Try balancing the food with a little lime, shredded paper, dead leaves or sawdust. Covering the food with a hessian sack, old carpet or damp newspaper will also discourage unwelcome visitors.