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Composting for fun and profit

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We have been composting for a few years and I calculated that I saved a lot of money doing that. This is mainly for people living in a house though. This is how we save from composting:

1 - We reduced our trash bin to the smallest one (24 gallon). A few dollars per month savings.
2 - I got rid of my shredder since all to-be-shredded paper, including receipts, go to the compost. No more spending money on shredder (I got two shredders in the past several years, and bought of them went bad after 3-4 years). 
3 - I no longer buy any fertilizer for the shrubs and trees. This is a saving about $20-$30 per year for us, of course depends on your yard size. I read somewhere that an inch of compost can feed a shrub for 30 years. I guess all the shrubs in our yard have enough compost for 90 years. Another advantage is I no longer have to carry 20-40 lb. fertilizer bag from HD or Lowes

Of course composting requires initial investment, which was $100 (tubling composter) - $75 city rebate = $25 for us.

There are also environmental benefits, but I won't count those, since this is "Fatwallet Finance" forum, not "Fatwallet Green Living" forum .

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does it smell in the summer

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papers are turned into compost?

Those papers have ink on them. And ink is chemical

Oh my god

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You just toss whole stacks of office papers (statements, bills, etc) in the compost bin?  The chemical content risks aside for a moment, in my experience, that stuff would take forever to break down.  Even newspapers should be shredded for effective composting.
 

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I compost because I hate the idea of wasting. I never thought to calculate the savings from it, but since you point it out it does save a little bit of money, mainly fertilizer in my case.

I'm pretty proud of the flow-through vermicomposter I made from a barrel I got on Craigslist. The "fun" part was naming all of the worms (I call them each Fred).

I also made a rain barrel, but using it is more hassle than it's worth IMHO.

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You didn't name all the earthworms Jim?!

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fleetwoodmac said:   papers are turned into compost?

Those papers have ink on them. And ink is chemical

Oh my god
Yeah, I didn't think paper was compostable, it's supposed to be recycled. But ink can be soy-based (may large newspapers have been using soy-based inks for a while now).

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Paper is compostable. Its debatable whether or not the ink is any real worry. A lot of the ink now is soy based. I probably wouldn't put it in my garden to be safe.
You don't want to compost glossy magazines but standard plain paper or newspaper is fine.

FYI, Portland has city wide composting ( of course) and the program allows various paper products in the compost bins including coffee filters, paper towels and pizza boxes :
https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/article/402972

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I have never tried to compost paper, especially bank/CC statements. I guess I'll try just for the heck of it.

Around my area, we have compost/yard-waste pickup so you can just the pro do it for you. It's free.

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rufflesinc said:   does it smell in the summer
  
No, even in Texas summer. It is a closed system anyway (mine is tumbling composter). At one time, I added too much water, and it smelled a little bit (can smell it when you open the cover). Otherwise, no smell.

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fleetwoodmac said:   papers are turned into compost?

Those papers have ink on them. And ink is chemical

Oh my god

In our area, all newspapers/magazines go to the recycle. I only compost the paper that has our name/address on it, and I usually just rip that part to compost, sending the remaining to recycle. For the rare bank/CC statements we get, we just toss it into the composter whole. Paper composts faster than most food in the composter. We also compost all receipts.

As for the damage to the shrubs, I did not experience that. In fact, our shrubs has been pretty good since we started using compost on them.

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Depends on your area. We get free compost from township and getting a smaller trashcan has no savings.

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The real question is why are you all still getting bank and CC statements in the mail?

I've always composted everything, so never really crossed my mind the cost savings.

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Just read enough to understand Composting. Would like to start this process.

How do you manage the daily accumulations in kitchen, since we can't add to bins and most bins have only 2 chambers.
I am assuming it would take 4-6 weeks in winter, so how to manage the kitchen waste till then?
 

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What's the time investment on this?

My city - bay area - has a compost bin and recycling bin that are "free" - we just pay for the garbage bin. At first I grumbled, but this has reduced my garbage output significantly by having the composting bin accessible (great for yard trimmings as well).

I recycle shredded paper, and because I knew shredders are a reliability nightmare I bought it from costco... hopefully I don't have to go that route but at least its an option.

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oko said:   We have been composting for a few years and I calculated that I saved a lot of money doing that. This is mainly for people living in a house though. This is how we save from composting:

1 - We reduced our trash bin to the smallest one (24 gallon). A few dollars per month savings.
2 - I got rid of my shredder since all paper, including receipts, go the the compost. No more spending money on shredder (I got two shredders in the past several years, and bought of them went bad afer 3-4 years). 
3 - I no longer buy any fertilizer for the shrubs and trees. This is a saving about $20-$30 per year for us, of course depends on your yard size. I read somewhere that an inch of compost can feed a shrub for 30 years. I guess all the shrubs in our yard have enough compost for 90 years. Another advantage is I no longer have to carry 20-40 lb. fertilizer bag from HD or Lowes

1- Since when does the amount of your residential trash affect your trash bill? I have twice a week collection and sometimes I fill the 55 gallon Rubbermaid plus add another trash bag full when I put it out for collection. I couldn't ask for a discount on days I have no trash to put out. In my neighbourhood it's a private service and imagine a family of 5 pays the same as a single person.

2- I've never had a shredder, paper just gets tossed in the recycling bin. Why compost it when the city can recycle it so more trees don't have to be cut down.

3-I've never bought any fertilizer for the shrubs and trees in the first place. They do just fine without it. Kind of like putting premium gas in most cars that don't need it.

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atikovi said:   
  

Depends on the service.    We have different service levels where you can get the small trash can for one price or the big trash can for a higher price.     The small can can be too little for some families so you have to pay more for the big can.   Whether you fill the can or leave it half empty does't vary your bill month to month and its a flat fee.    Bottom line though is if you can get down to the smallest trash can size option then you save money.
 

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So what if you have the smallest one and add a full trash bag along side it?

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oko said:   I read somewhere that an inch of compost can feed a shrub for 30 years. I guess all the shrubs in our yard have enough compost for 90 years.
 

  
Yeah, that's not true.  Compost is a very weak fertilizer as is and nitrogen doesn't stay in the soil that long anyways.  It's a very good source of soil biology but not a great fertilizer.

I could go on and on but I've never found it worth my time to actively compost.  Grass clippings stay on the lawn, leaf material in the beds.  They compost themselves.  And I love my landscaping, but it's just not worth it to have a compost bin.

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atikovi said:   So what if you have the smallest one and add a full trash bag along side it?
  
My trash company has a schedule of fees for extras like that. They also have different rates for 3 different trash bin sizes for weekly pickup. But I think the city requires that they bundle "unmetered" recycling and compost pickup with each of those. We don't keep our compost, but use it and the recycling and usually fit very easily in the smallest trash bin.

They also have a schedule of fees for dropping stuff off at their site, we've used that a bit when we've had remodeling or landscaping refuse to get rid of.

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fleetwoodmac said:   papers are turned into compost?

Those papers have ink on them. And ink is chemical

Oh my god

  Most ink is basically soybean oil. Most receipts use no ink at all.

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Cover flower beds with 4-5 sheets of newspaper before mulching. Works better than landscape cloth & good for the dirt, use less mulch

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keaton85 said:   The real question is why are you all still getting bank and CC statements in the mail?

I've always composted everything, so never really crossed my mind the cost savings.

 
It might be hard to believe, but some banks don't have electronic statements yet. For example, BankDirect (where you earn AA miles).

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DealsBrokeMe said:   Just read enough to understand Composting. Would like to start this process.

How do you manage the daily accumulations in kitchen, since we can't add to bins and most bins have only 2 chambers.
I am assuming it would take 4-6 weeks in winter, so how to manage the kitchen waste till then?

 
The composter I use has two separate chambers. You fill one of them for 4-6 weeks while the other side composts. So the kitchen waste never waits in the kitchen (otherwise wife would kill me anyway). 

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atikovi said:   
 
1- Since when does the amount of your residential trash affect your trash bill? I have twice a week collection and sometimes I fill the 55 gallon Rubbermaid plus add another trash bag full when I put it out for collection. I couldn't ask for a discount on days I have no trash to put out. In my neighbourhood it's a private service and imagine a family of 5 pays the same as a single person.
 


  Here are the per month rates in Austin:
24-gallon $17.90*
32-gallon $19.15*
64-gallon $24.30*
96-gallon $42.85*


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If you're throwing all that personal information into the composter without shredding it first, do you run a risk of someone digging up some dirt on you?

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NotSoHard said:   If you're throwing all that personal information into the composter without shredding it first, do you run a risk of someone digging up some dirt on you?
  Muckrakers!!

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I get the "fun" aspect of this but how do you actually "profit" from composting? Is it in the fact that you are not spending money? Because it sounds like no one is selling anything.

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oko said:   
atikovi said:   
 
1- Since when does the amount of your residential trash affect your trash bill? I have twice a week collection and sometimes I fill the 55 gallon Rubbermaid plus add another trash bag full when I put it out for collection. I couldn't ask for a discount on days I have no trash to put out. In my neighbourhood it's a private service and imagine a family of 5 pays the same as a single person.


  Here are the per month rates in Austin:

24-gallon $17.90*
32-gallon $19.15*
64-gallon $24.30*
96-gallon $42.85*


  

I wish we were charged per size.   We have almost no trash ,  but are charged the same of the people with their 96 gallon can overflowing.   Maybe it would encourage some people to recycle / reuse / etc.

I assume the city has weighed the option and is afraid it would encourage some people to dump their trash on someone else rather than sitting it on the curb.

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An inch of compost provides almost no nutrients. You are not eliminating the need to fertilize.  For that matter, 10 inches of compost provide almost no nutrients.  

I would suggest you recycle your paper, but if you must compost, you should shred your papers before composting. They will compost quicker and without clumping. There is minimal value in paper for composting and there is a concern for some of the ink and some of the paper. I believe shiny paper is bad for composting.


http://www.gardensalive.com/product/using-cardboard-and-paper-wi... 

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But composting gives some people the warm fuzzies, like they're saving the planet. Personally, tending to a heap of rotting leaves and garbage isn't very appealing.

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Bin plus bags would be $209.16 per year. Instead I pay $2.15 per bag, and spend about $20 a year. Recycling is free.

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i'm leery of composting receipts as OP is doing, since BPA is present in most receipt paper and I don't know whether it will decompose or remain in the compost and be absorbed later in the vegetable garden.

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4 - The special $3 apiece bags you need for your lawn clippings, leaves, small branches to be picked up in some areas haven't been mentioned?

We took some 2x4s, slats and chicken wire and made a good-sized bin we sat at the back of the yard, haven't used bags in over a decade. The first few months paid off the materials cost.
Dumping our small amount of kitchen waste in there may not really save anything (already have the smallest trash bin), but the lawn stuff's probably saved several hundred.

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MaddHatter said:   4 - The special $3 apiece bags you need for your lawn clippings, leaves, small branches to be picked up in some areas haven't been mentioned?

.

Maybe $3 a pack but they don't even cost $1 each here

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rufflesinc said:   
MaddHatter said:   4 - The special $3 apiece bags you need for your lawn clippings, leaves, small branches to be picked up in some areas haven't been mentioned?

.

Maybe $3 a pack but they don't even cost $1 each here

  Agreed, this is Fatwallet.  If the gabage bags cost that much we would find a deal on large pillow cases.  The large bags we buy are under $6 per 36.  So maximum of $0.17 each.  You can fit 2 of those in a large garbage can.  The heavy duty lawn bags are a little more expensive but not that much more.

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rufflesinc said:   
MaddHatter said:   4 - The special $3 apiece bags you need for your lawn clippings, leaves, small branches to be picked up in some areas haven't been mentioned?

.

Maybe $3 a pack but they don't even cost $1 each here

  Does seem they've come down over the decade, I'm seeing $1.50ea in a 5-pk locally. I remember $2+/ea (3pk for $7) way back shortly after it started for my area, can't be sure about $3 (so shouldn't have said it). 

Skipping 15 Messages...
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NonReturnable said:   Am I the only crazy one that burns all of their bank statements / junk mail / etc?

Toss it in a bag and once I have enough, toss it in the fireplace in my backyard and light it up.

  "I burn stuff"
https://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1556555?showmessage=198...

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