Green Cone - by Anne-Marie

I have to come clean and admit that until the Green Cone was delivered I didn't realise what it was – I assumed it was just a type of compost bin and as I was drowning in grass cuttings at the time I thought it would help!

Aug 4 2020

Update: Spring 2020

I have had a Green Cone for almost 4 years and although I have tried to give it a fair trial I do not find it particularly useful.

I think the main problem is that we throw very little food as there are only 2 of us in the house, and any food waste that can’t be composted is given to the dog. Furthermore, we live in the middle of farmland and there are a lot of rats - that is a fact of rural life (note: there is evidence that rats have tried to burrow under and into the green cone but none have got in).

I think it would be better for a larger household, a school or similar group who would produce enough material to make it work.

Winter 2016/17

I have to hold my hands up and admit that it’s been too cold to investigate the Green Cone with any real enthusiasm but everything still seems to be OK with no discernible smell to the human (well, my) nose. It did come in handy after Christmas with the remains of the turkey carcass after I’d made some stock – oh, and fed the dog of course!

I have noticed some rats trying to get at the contents – to no avail so far I’m pleased to report – but as a friend pointed out, the decomposing food waste probably smells wonderful to them underground. Correctly installed, a Green Cone will not attract vermin, but if you’re really unlucky a find that a rat run crosses the cone you can put chicken wire around the black basket to further prevent a determined rat attempting to gnaw its way through to the waste.

Autumn 2016

There isn’t too much to report on progress, although the Green Cone did come to the rescue of a neighbour who had a dead freezer drama and needed somewhere to quickly dispose of some thawed food.  I’ve peered in and it looks much the same as during the summer, fermenting fairly efficiently but not necessarily particularly exciting!

Summer 2016

When it arrived needing assembly, but with no paper instructions just a promotional DVD, I realised it’s a food waste digester which disposes of all food waste, including cooked food, bones and egg shells. Sadly it’s no good for garden waste though, while I thought I already had a food waste digester of the four-legged variety – Morris the Deerhound Lurcher!

Green Cone

We set to assembling the Green Cone and digging a big hole for the base receptacle, and installed it in the requisite sunny spot in the garden (the Green Cone is also known as a “solar powered food waste digester”…). Assembly took about an hour, with the digging taking around two hours, depending on how strong one is and how dry the ground is! The hole needs to be at least 80 cm (32") wide and 80 cm deep as, to prevent access by flies and vermin, it’s essential that the black part of the cone is underground, including the lip on which the green part of the cone sits.

Green Cone

Then we started feeding it, and very soon realised we simply don’t throw away anywhere enough food to feed it. Anything compostable goes straight in the compost bin of course, and we rarely have leftover sausages as shown in the promotional video (and if we do, Morris will have them!).

So I decided to see if any of my neighbours would like to dispose of their food waste in the Green Cone, and a couple of them were interested.  But, like me, they’re all gardeners and avid composters already so no-one throws much food away. Nevertheless I dusted the donated contents with the activating powder that came with the cone and it soon started to decompose happily! It doesn’t smell either which is a pleasant surprise.

Green Cone

My initial thought is that this bin would be better for a family (or even a business?) that wants to be green but doesn’t have a garden. Maybe it would work as a community resource with a group of neighbours using it co-operatively. The video suggests it will probably need emptying only once a year but I suspect it will be a lot less for us, even with contributions from the neighbours.