Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically and to Permaculture principles, which we share with Chickens, Cats and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I am a Master Composter and have spent more than a decade as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council.
I'm a self employed Environmental Educator so I run workshops and events where I talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. I also run crafts workshops and Forest School/outdoor play sessions in our wood.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun.

To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!

Wednesday 2 May 2012

Traidcraft Coir Compost block - Review

I have been sent a free sample of the new Traidcraft coir based compressed compost to try out. The press release sent to me describes the product as follows

Traidcraft, the UK’s leading fair trade organisation is launching the Fair Trade Coir Compost Block, which is made from coconut husk fibres, or coir, a sustainable by-product of the coconut industry in Sri Lanka.

Coir used to be dumped in huge slag heaps around what is called the 'coconut triangle' region, north ofColombo. Now the coir is made into easy-to-usecompost blocks that are not only eco-friendly but help provide employment opportunities for people in Sri

Each fair trade coir compost block sold by Traidcraft helps provide valuable income for the workers at manufacturer Ceylon Garden Coir. The fair trade premium from the coir compost goes to a local women’s weaving group, which receives training and support to weave with natural fibres, meaning that local families and communities benefit too.
So this product has an excellent ethical pedigree I think you will agree!

I was also most impressed to be sent a lovely pair of gloves to use with the block of coir compost.

 So...this is what the packaging looks like. The block is about the size of a tissue box and not that much heavier. It has a paper wrapper with clear instructions printed on it. The wrapper was composted after opening, but you could recycle it if you wished.

 Put the block in a bucket - (I used a trug)

Add at least 6 L of water - I used a bit more!

Within 10 mins it looked like this.

Next day it looked like this and I used it to pot up some house plant cuttings of scented pelagoniums. The compost texture is very good and it smells and feels very pleasant to use. It is a bit wet looking because I left the trug outside and it rained here all night...! But the excess water was easy to pour away and the compost soon dried out enough for me to use in the pots.

I have used coir based composts for many years so I am assuming this one will grow my plants  as well as the others.

I have to say that I personally wouldn't buy small blocks of compost like this, as  I get through several hundred litres of organic bagged up coir based growing medium every year - so to have to get it in small blocks and rehydrate it would be a lot of extra work and expense for me!

BUT I do like the coir compost and the block idea is good as it is lightweight - so if you only wanted a small quantity of compost ( for houseplants, or small pots of herbs or salads) or if you had to carry the compost home then a block like this picked up from an Oxfam shop would be a good idea, rather than having to buy a large bag of compost and waste it.

And it is Fairtrade and a by product which would otherwise go to waste.

So all in all a thumbs up for a good idea from Traidcraft! AND, if it came in larger blocks I might well be interested in using it...

Traidcraft’s Fair Trade Coir Compost Block retails for £2.50 each and is available to purchase from www.traidcraftshop.co.uk or via 0845 330 8900. It is also available in Oxfam stores.

(Please note - I received a free block of compost to test  - in order to write this review. The
unexpected pair of gloves was a nice bonus. I received no other fee and my review is entirely my own honest opinions)


  1. My next door neighbour does a lot of composting and it's made me go hunting in search of everything - well composting!

    I've seen these blocks but as a buyer of other FairTrade products I'm going to track some of these down.

    Great photos - with all the info. I need.

  2. Hi Adrian and welcome to The Compostbin :-)

    I am glad you found my review of help - good luck with sourcing some - Traidcraft are the people I got them from.


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