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FAQ

What is The CarbonCycle™ Compost System?

“THE CARBONCYCLE™COMPOSTING SYSTEM” is the name of our composting system that includes our revolutionary Carboncycle Compost box frames, our CarbonCyclists community, and our CarbonCycle Composting Guide that tells you everything you might ever need to know about how to use it. Learn more about the System.

How do the CarbonCycle™ Composters work?

They work like any other aerobic composter in that they allow nature to decompose food waste and garden cuttings very quickly with the aid of moisture, if required, heat, and air. But CarbonCycle Composters really work because their size and structure allows a lot more efficiency.

What can you compost?

Many things can be composted. You can really compost almost anything that ever lived.

  • All food waste
  • All garden waste
  • Meat is easily composted. Some compost makers avoid meats because they are concerned about pests. Fair enough, but a good compost (such as ours) can easily handle meats without a pest risk.
  • Cardboard (most)
  • PLA and many other products that claim to be compostable

While most residential compost boxes may struggle to compost all that, the CarbonCycle Composter is more than capable.

For more detail refer to The CarbonCycle Composting Guide

What can you not compost?

It is important to know what cannot be composted so that your rubbish stays separate from your compost and goes into the right place. Things that you should not attempt to compost include:

  • Plastic, plastic, and plastic
  • Electronics
  • Metals, rocks, etc.

For more detail refer to The CarbonCycle Composting Guide

I want to compost but I don’t have space for a CarbonCycle Composter. What can I do?

There are many options to combat this. A lot of apartment rooftops would have space for a CarbonCycle Composter. Maybe you can share with others, so the CarbonCycle Composter goes in one person’s garden, but everyone contributes their food scraps. Maybe you should talk to a nearby community garden. If you live in a block of flats, talk to the property manager about including a CarbonCycle Composter alongside your regular waste bin.

However, if you really don’t have anywhere to put a CarbonCycle Composter, that is no excuse not to compost! You can still keep your food and garden waste separate, and take it to a community compost heap, or give it to a neighbour who uses compost.

Does composting attract pests?

There is no reason why a well-tended compost pile will attract pests. However, some areas are more prone to pests than others, so the CarbonCycle Composter is equipped with pest-proofing on all its surfaces, and can even have a bottom-side pest-proof added if needed.

For more detail refer to The CarbonCycle Composting Guide

Does compost smell bad?

There is no reason why a compost should smell. If it does, then it probably has too little carbon – easily solved. Add more. The CarbonCycle Composter is designed not to smell.

For more detail refer to The CarbonCycle Composting Guide

Do composts leach?

Compost piles don’t usually leach. But if you are composting very liquid materials or a substantial quantity of food scraps, leaching is possible. Generally, any leachate would go straight down below the bin, causing no issues. But if you have a problem, we suggest that you line the base and sides of your pile with carbon-rich material.

For more detail refer to The CarbonCycle Composting Guide

What do I do with my finished compost?

Put it on your food or vegetable garden, around trees and shrubs or on your lawn. Or use it to grow seedlings or as a part of your pot-plant mix.

Or give it to your grateful neighbours.

There are plenty of other uses. For more detail refer to The CarbonCycle Composting Guide

Do I need a lid?

We think some cover of the decomposing organic matter is desirable. It keeps some of the heat in. A lid does not need to be rain-proof but the CCarbonCycle Composter 2-part Lid is 99% rain proof.  We commend old sacks or an old natural woollen carpet as a cap for your compost and, unless you have a rain-proof lid, a tarpaulin (non-degradable please). But, in most situations, dry grass or wood chip on top would do the job.

How do I learn how to compost?

There are hundreds of books and web sites. Feel free to access them. Some are superb.

But we have established the CarbonCycle Composting Guide, which we think provides all the advice you will need.

It is all pretty simple and it largely relates to maintaining a carbon:nitrogen balance of around 25-30:1, just like nature was once allowed to do.

But the good news is that you cannot fail. If the mixture is unbalanced it can always be re-balanced. So, the worst case is that things take you a little longer whilst you are learning.

For more detail refer to The CarbonCycle Composting Guide

What warranties are provided?

The CarbonCycle Co provides a limited 10 year warranty on the CarbonCycle Frame and on the Lid Frame. Under that warranty, provided customers comply with usage and maintenance guidelines, we will at our option either replace any component that ceases to be functional or provide compensation equal to the cost of the component reduced by 10% for each year prior to the year of claim. We do not manufacture and cannot guarantee any other components like slats or pest-proofing. However, we make every effort to ensure that these components are of appropriate quality.

I wish to buy my own timber board slats for my sides and/or my lids. How do I go about it?

There are a few things that you need to keep in mind when sourcing your own timber boards for your compost box. To help you decide which timber to use, we have written a guide to choosing wood for your composter slats.

If you struggle to find your slats, please contact us.

Can I paint or stain my slats?

Yes. All slats that we provide can be painted or stained although rougher or lesser quality lumber may have less attractive results. Please follow all instructions relevant to the lumber used in your slats. If you have PREMIUM slats they are quite likely Accoya. If so, you should read the Accoya Coating Specification available for download from here.

Can I use treated timber boards (lumber)?

We are often asked whether “treated” lumber/timber can be used for slats. Whilst perhaps the risks of leaching can be over-stated, we do not suggest that you use lumber that has been treated with arsenic, copper or chrome. But there are other treatments that are risk-free in these regards and that can be used without risk. For example, acetylated softwoods. You will need to check as to availability.

Will my slats change shape?

We cannot guarantee that these slars will maintain their shape. Timber/lumber is inherently at risk of changing shape. It will, for example, swell if wet and shrink if dry. It can also distort over time and rot. In our experience, most slats should remain usable for many years but we cannot guarantee how they will perform. Having said that, hardwoods and better quality (treated) softwoods are likely to perform better over time. If we have more information as to the claims our slat providers make as to their product we mention it on the product pages. Clearly, none of this relates to the CarbonCycle Composter Frames, and other aluminium components that we manufacture and which are made from durable aluminium.

What is the basic timber board (lumber) that you offer?

The basic timber board (lumber) that we offer will change from country to country and possibly from region to region and from time to time. Our intention is that our basic slats will be of mid-range quality or better, not to provide the cheapest slats we can obtain. However, we are not timber experts and we cannot provide any assurances beyond those provided by our suppliers in each case.

Examples of the basic timber boards we have in mind are macrocarpa, blue gum, Japanese cedar, cypress pine, golden cypress and the like.

More information on types of timber is available in our guide to composter slats.

What is the premium timber board (lumber) that you offer?

The basic timber board (lumber) that we offer will change from country to country and possibly from region to region and from time to time. Our intention is that our premium slats will be of high quality, with materially better manufacturer claims as to  performance than basic slats. However, we are not timber experts and we cannot provide any assurances beyond those provided by our suppliers in each case.

An example of the premium timber board we have in mind is Accoya acetylated wood.

More information on types of timber is available in our guide to composter slats.

How many slats will there be on each side?

This may vary depending on our suppliers. In general we anticipate that there will be between 5 and 7 slats per side.

How many slats will there be on the lid?

This may vary depending on our suppliers. In general we anticipate that there will be between 5 and 8 slats per lid. 2-part lids are likely to have 8 slats.

Will the side slats reach the top of each column?

Generally, that is our intent. However, there will be variances in the height of each slat and also slats may expand, shrink or twist, It is possible, therefore, that the top of the top slat will not be at the same height as the top of each column.

Who will manufacture my CarbonCycle Composter Frame and other components?

Presently, the Original CarbonCycle Composter Frame and all other aluminium parts are manufactured under an exclusive contract with The CarbonCycle Co in New Zealand by McKechnie Aluminium Solutions Ltd.

Mckechnie Aluminium is the first New Zealand aluminium joinery manufacturer to achieve third-party CEMARS® product certification for sustainably leading the industry by Enviro-Mark Solutions Ltd.

Slats will be provided by suppliers locally. The CarbonCycle Co does not manufacture slats.

Do I need level ground?

No, CarbonCycle Composter Frames can be adapted to uneven terrain within reasonable limits. But you may need to prop up some sides with supports or to slightly bury some sides. The tops of all columns in a composter will need to be at the same elevation.

What size is the Original CarbonCycle Composter?

For the Original CarbonCycle Composter each column is c.1200 mm (c.3.937”). So that is how high, long and wide the bin will be.

And viewed from a bird’s eye the composter is c.1240mm (c.4.068”) on each side (exterior).

The specifications for each component are available on each product page in the shop.

How long does it take before I will have usable compost?

This depends on many factors including the size and nature of the mixture, the weather, how often you turn the compost, etc. In our experience, usable compost can be expected in moderate conditions within a few months, if turned at least three times.

For more detail refer to The CarbonCycle Composting Guide

What extra equipment will I need?

Apart from some top cover and organic material you will probably only need a turning fork and some gloves and footwear. You may also find it helpful to have spare carbon and nitrogen rich material available for balancing or to add nutrients that may be lacking in your soil.

For more detail refer to The CarbonCycle Composting Guide

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