It is helpful to the composting process if the solids bin of the toilet is lined with a starter material to ensure an air pocket under the initial deposits, to assist with moisture absorption and to add carbon to the finished compost (something which is lacking in our solid matter). For this purpose a number of different materials can be used, but the best one, in our experience, is cocoa shell.
Whilst our toilets do not require the addition of dry material after each use, it is sometimes helpful to cover up the contents, maybe when guests are coming, and cocoa shell is also useful for this purpose.
It was possible to buy cocoa shell from Garden Centres and online in 50 litre bags, but since this would last many years for the average user, we offer 1kg bags (about 5 litres) which are easier to handle and store and will line 2 or 3 bins before use. Supplies from Garden centres seem to have virtually disappeared this year.
Cocoa Shell Mulch is made from natural renewable resources as a by product of chocolate manufacturing. Cocoa shells are simply the shells of the cocoa bean. Cocoa beans are a couple of centimetres across, dark brown in colour and grown mainly in Africa.
The cocoa beans are shipped whole into the UK, roasted and shelled. The inside of the bean is used to manufacture chocolate products. Instead of being discarded, the shells are bagged up for use as cocoa shell mulch.
In the manufacturing process, the cocoa shells are physically stripped off after roasting, by blasting air. The shells emerge dried, cleaned and free of weeds etc. In this way another waste product becomes a useful material.