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Sustainability

5 Ways to Become a Greener Gardener this Year

We can't wait for the 2021 gardening season to get going and, as days get longer, it no longer feels far away. So, with the help of Original Organics, how can we all become better (& greener) gardeners this year?

Take a Swing at Vegan Gardening

Growing your own vegetables will save you money, time in the supermarket, and slash your carbon footprint. Portable containers, crates or pots are a perfect place to start if you don't have enough space for a dedicated vegetable patch.

Invest in a greenhouse to increase your yield of fresh fruit and vegetables and to save space, you can grow legumes (runner beans, broad beans, French beans and peas), squashes and pumpkins vertically. Salad leaves, herbs and tomatoes grow well on balconies and patios.

Have a Go at Upcycling

Reduce waste in your garden and get creative by reusing items that would otherwise be heading for landfill.

If you’re planning DIY projects, think about how you can use old pieces of furniture in the garden. Bathroom and kitchen renovations mean old baths and sinks can make striking statement pieces in the garden when filled with flowers and foliage.

Take a look in our Garden section for inspiration.

Make Your Own Compost

Start off your compost from kitchen and green waste in a quiet corner of your garden.

Making compost is all about layers. Regularly add alternating layers of green (nitrogen-rich) materials like grass cuttings, weeds and uncooked vegetable peelings and brown (carbon-rich) materials like leaves, wood chippings, shredded paper and cardboard, and sticks allows the compost to truly thrive.

The Aerobin (below) is a hot composter. Hot composting reduces the composting process to as little as 12 weeks!

Invite More Wildlife into Your Garden

Invite more wildlife into your garden by not mowing all of your lawn, planting some wildflowers and leaving an area of your garden to become wild and grow naturally. This will make an ideal habitat.

Pile leaves, wood and fallen branches to make a hedgehog habitat, plant pollinator-attracting plants and put food out for the birds. A healthy ecosystem will also mean fewer pests.

Collect & Save Rainwater

In dry spells, always prioritise water-use by which plants need it most, like young plants, greenhouses, hanging baskets and window boxes.

Buy a water butt to collect rainwater. We offer a range of high-quality equipment for the conservation of water, with speedservice at great value prices.

There are many good reasons to install a water butt, particularly if you’re looking to save money on your water bills if your home is run by a water meter. Filling your buckets and watering cans with naturally-collected rainwater also means that you will avoid the use of chlorinated tap water, which can be toxic to plants.

Explore Original Organics and discover more sustainable solutions for 2021.

Sustainable New Year's Resolutions for 2021

Become zero waste

Going zero-waste might be one of the toughest sustainable resolutions to commit to this new year. But don’t let that keep you from trying - slowly reduce your waste bit-by-bit, a little more week-by-week, and who knows what your lifestyle may look like by the end of 2021. If you don’t get down to a completely zero-waste lifestyle, you can be still proud that you have reduced your waste and environmental footprint. If each and every one of us did this, just imagine the impact it would have on our environment. So, how can you do it?

Start composting

Do you know how to compost? If not, don’t worry. Learning this valuable skill will further reduce your waste and there’s a plethora of information on the internet to draw from. Nowadays, state-of-the-art composters make the process even easier! Adding your kitchen and garden waste to a compost bin will cause it to decompose and create amazing fertiliser for your garden. If you want to cut down the composting process to as little as 12 weeks, the Aerobin Hot Composter is the solution for you.

Grow your own food

If you have a garden or – if you’re really lucky – an allotment space, you have the opportunity to grow your own fruit, vegetable, and herbs. This is definitely something to commit to doing this year. Grow Your Own Kits make growing your own produce simpler than ever before, and with the possibility of further lockdowns and with food currently flying off the shelves, why not grow your own delicious fruit and vegetables? Not only will you be benefiting from eating healthy, organic food, you will also benefit from the countless mental benefits that gardening provides.

Teach the kids

Our range of Children’s Growing Kits let you and your little ones grow fruit and vegetables that the whole family can enjoy. With easy-to-follow instructions and advice, you can watch on safe in the knowledge that your kids will soon be master gardeners. Gardening really is fun and education for all the family!

More time in nature

Here’s a simple resolution that everyone can do. Find a local park or somewhere away from the noise – even if it’s just a garden or a balcony with your favourite plants. Being in nature has endless benefits for your physical and mental health. Dedicate to taking some time to read, to meditate, or just be in nature and watch as your well-being improves.

Invest in a water butt

One of the most useful and precious resources on the planet is water. Though we love to moan about the infamous British & Irish weather, we are incredibly fortunate that rainfall in the UK and Ireland is such a regular occurrence. Even so, we are all too familiar with hosepipe bans and often we experience droughts during particularly dry summers. Even so, 2020 also saw the driest May on record in East Anglia with less than 5% of the normal rainfall. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be an isolated incident.

Increased demand for water puts intense pressure on our water network as well as the environment. The new National Framework for Water Resources has warned that Britain will run short on water between 2025 and 2050, stressing that the average person needs to reduce their water use from 143 to 110 litres per day.

It's important that we all stay mindful of our water use to save water where we can, especially as avid gardeners. This can be as simple as using a watering can rather than a hose. The most useful way to make sure you aren’t wasting this precious resource is to catch and collect your own water to be used in your garden using a water butt, attached to a downpipe, ready to catch rainwater.

Get a bamboo toothbrush

There are approximately 3.5 billion toothbrushes used annually across the world and the vast majority of them are plastic, meaning they hang around for centuries. Strange to think the first-ever plastic toothbrush is probably sat in a long-forgotten waste tip somewhere waiting for a future equivalent of the fictional rubbish robot, Wall-E to discover it again. Switch to a bamboo toothbrush this year which is biodegradable to replace those plastic toothbrushes which can’t break down.

Plant a tree

Plant a tree in your garden or somewhere else. It will only bring happiness to you and nature. It doesn’t even have to be a tree. Just plant something and get your hands dirty.

Conclusion

Trying to reduce our impact on the environment is incredibly important. As a community, we can try to reduce our use of single-use plastic items as well as our use of Earth’s precious resources such as fuel, food and waterIn early 2020, the UK government’s waste advisory board reported that 4.5m tonnes of food a year is wasted, which amounts to a total worth of £14bn. This amounts to £700 for an average family with children. We can all make a difference by making small changes, we can try to not buy items we do not need. Making a shopping list for the week is a simple and easy way to reduce food waste. This same principle can be applied to single-use items such as plastic straws and drinks that are sold in plastic bottles. Try to buy items that will last a lifetimeCleaning products are now available to buy that not only use completely natural ingredients but also feature containers which are completely reusable. If we all make these small changes, we can help curb the tonnes of waste mounting in landfill. 

So, what will your sustainable new year's resolution be for 2021? Head over to our Instagram and let us know!

Go to the Original Organics homepage.

How the Aerobin Hot Composter Works

The Aerobin utilises hot composting techniques to speed up the breakdown of food and garden waste

Who is the Aerobin for?   

For those passionate about reducing the food and garden waste their household or business sends to landfill, the Aerobin utilises a method of heating up organic waste to break it down in as little as 12 weeks. Reaching between 40°C-60°C - with highs of 70°C in the right conditions - hot composting not only speeds up the process of breaking down waste but also provides a nutrient-rich fertiliser for your plants.    

The benefits of hot composting compared to cold composting    

Operating at less than 20°C, traditional methods of composting are unlikely to reach a sufficient temperature to break down difficult waste such as bones, fly eggs, weed seeds and larvae. The Arrhenius equation, otherwise known as the Q10 formula, is a temperature dependency model for reaction speeds. This equation relates to the temperature variation of thermally induced reactions, meaning the reaction speed of breaking down waste significantly rises with every 10°C increase in temperature. 

In other words, an outdoor cold compost heap can typically take 12-24 months in the UK, which has an average temperature of 10°C. However, when the Aerobin operates at its most efficient this process can take as little as 12 weeks!

 

science of hot composting

 

How it works

The aerobic composting (hot composting) process is based on providing the decomposition cycle with plenty of oxygen to foster the required bacterial activity needed for breaking down waste into compost.  

In order to stimulate the required bacterial activity for aerobic composting to work, plenty of oxygen is needed to encourage the decomposition cycle.

 

How hot composting works

 

The rate of bacterial release from heat depends on the specific digestibility of the waste.  This is influenced by the type of waste added as well as the amount of waste added at one time. For example, digestion and heat release can be rapid from plant material or steadier for lignin. 

The production of methane - 2-4 times more potent than green-house gasses - would occur without oxygen and compost would not be generated efficiently. The most effective way to ensure adequate oxygenation for waste is through the formation of free air spaces. 

 

What is free air space (FAS)?

Free air space (FAS) is a physical parameter that can play a significant role in composting processes to preserve optimal aerobic conditions. One study in particular demonstrated that a mixture design methodology can be a valuable tool to predict the initial FAS of composting mixtures, specifically in making adjustments to improve composting processes. 

In other words, the Aerobin relies on buoyancy air flow aeration, which, in effect, is based on the preservation of about 20-30% 'free air space' (FAS). Turning the compost heap will allow bacterial growth for brief amounts of time because there are no self-supporting particles in the turned waste, so the heap would collapse rapidly and again hinder airflow. 

 

The Aerobin is made from 100% virgin polymer

Conversely, if the heap has self-supporting particles, no turning is needed, the Aerobin utilises a bulking agent (composted wood chip) to retain free air space to accomplish this. Any time waste is added to the Aerobin, this bulking agent should be added to maintain a buoyant air movement through the waste, which in turn helps the bacteria to easily digest the waste without the need to turn the compost. 

Our Aerobins are made from 100% virgin polymer, a robust material selected for its unparalleled insulation properties, which, while the bin is operating at its optimal temperature, retains heat and provides an ideal environment for bacteria to function efficiently. 

Which Aerobin is right for you? 

200 Litre Aerobin 

The 200L Aerobin is ideal for home use as it easily converts your household food and garden waste into compost, and the liquid created from the waste is great for plants. It has a useful pump too. 

400 Litre Aerobin 

For households containing a lot of food or garden waste, small to medium businesses – especially food stores – the 400L Aerobin is best for the job. 

600 Litre Aerobin 

For restaurants and bars, large businesses and food sites with greater volumes of food waste, the 600L Aerobin is the perfect solution. A significant volume of food waste can be composted by this hot composter with an extra-large capacity. 

Shop our range of hot composters today at Original Organics. 

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