Ridan Food Composters – FAQs
Here we have attempted to answer some of the most common questions asked by our customers. If you can’t find the answer to your question, please get in touch.
To hear success stories from schools, businesses, farms, prisons and other establishments already using a Ridan composter, please take a look at our testimonials.
How long does the waste food stay inside the Ridan?
For a minimum of two weeks when being used at full capacity, however, for regular use it’s usually longer than this.
What is the best wood additive to use?
Wood pellets are easy and they make great compost, you only need to add a quarter as much by volume. The cost will be about £2 to £4 a week for a typical system.
Sawdust, wood shavings and wood chip all work really well as long as they are clean, fresh and dry. These are often available for free as a waste product. They must be added in equal amounts to the food waste by volume.
Larger wood chips will take longer to break down than the food waste, so the compost can be coarse.
Can dead leaves be used as a carbon source rather than wood?
No. Dead leaves have very little to offer the composting process but they will add greatly to the structure of the compost if layered into the maturation boxes during the filling stage.
Can straw be used as a carbon source for composting instead of wood?
No. Straw has very little to offer the composting process but it will add greatly to the structure of the compost if layered into the maturation boxes during the filling stage.
What happens if I turn the handle of the composter too much?
As the handle is turned, the mixture is aerated so turn as much as you like. As you turn, compost will emerge – if the emerging compost is not yet broken down, then simply put it back in through the lid and let it pass through the system again.
What happens if I stop using the composter?
You can stop using your Ridan at any time for a weekend or even a long holiday. Whilst inactive, the system will gradually cool down and work more slowly. As soon as you feed it and turn the handle, it will warm up and carry on just as before.
What if the handle is hard to turn?
When the handle gets difficult to turn, it means that your Ridan is too full. At this point, you need to stop adding any more food waste but keep turning the handle until you can easily see the paddles sticking well out of the mixture. You must always keep the mixture at this level (about two thirds full).
What if the mixture stays cold?
The mixture inside your Ridan should always be above 50 degrees C and preferably closer to 60 C in order for the composting proces to work efficiently. If it is not that hot, try the following:
- Add more wood, chips, pellets or sawdust.
- Ensure that your Ridan is not too full. It should be around two thirds full (make sure that you can see the paddles).
- Turn the handle more frequently every day.
Can I compost paper, card and tissue?
Yes, but not through the Ridan.
Paper, card, tissue, and other paper products contain adhesives and china clay which will break down slowly, especially when damp. So tear or shred them small, then layer them into the maturation box and leave them for a minimum of two months, preferably much longer.
When do I empty the Ridan?
Food waste passes right through and all of the composting microbes will live inside, so you never need to empty it, just take out enough compost every day.
Are there any other similar products on the market?
Yes there are a few, but they all cost much more and they all consume power. The Ridan costs much less to buy and is free to use as it does not consume power.
Can compostable bags and tableware be composted in a Ridan?
Yes, but compostable bags and tableware break down slowly and they don’t add anything to the hot composting process. It is better to compost them in the maturation boxes by layering them into the mix.
If your food waste is in compostable bags, either empty the contents into the Ridan, or tear it before loading as the bag will take more time to break down, thereby preventing the food inside from composting.
I have free shredded wood waste on site, is it suitable as the wood additive?
Yes it will work and the food waste will compost and the mixture will get hot, however, unless your free shredded wood waste is very dry, it may cause a smell during composting.
The best wood additive is dry sawdust or wood pellets. These work fantastically and the smell is minimal.
Regulations – What do I need to consider?
The Environment Agency like to know who is composting their own food waste on-site, so you should tell them what you are doing by completing a Waste Exemption application which is very simple, see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/waste-exemption-t23-aerobic-composting-and-associated-prior-treatment for details