Posted by Tim Stobbs on May 15, 2007
Composting is often presented as once of those things good environmentalists or serious gardeners do in their backyard . But from the purely economic perspective does it really pay?
Composting contrary to popular belief doesn’t have to be hard. In is basic form you putting your vegetables/fruits/coffee grounds and some yard waste into a pile with some dirt and then you let the entire thing decay into a black/brown mess which is just full of nutrients for your soil. You can take the lazy route where you just pile it up and ignore it except for the occasional turn with a pitch fork and wait up to a year to get your compost. Or you can give it some more attention and balance nitrogen/carbon/moisture and air flow to get your compost in as little as three months (for more details see here).
On the economic side you are spending around $20 for a small pitch fork as all the basic equipment you need. Then after that your spending your time to turn the pile to produce a bag or two of composted material per year (at least) saving yourself perhaps at most $8 per year. So yes you can save a tiny amount of money, but if you value your time at all you are likely losing money on the deal.
So if you aren’t doing it for money, you are basically just doing it for environmental reasons. I personally do it because it is fairly easy to do and it makes my wife’s garden produce veggies like mad. Who said you can’t save the planet and still be selfish?