Author Topic: Composting Pickup  (Read 1855 times)

NotJen

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Composting Pickup
« on: January 10, 2021, 11:56:00 AM »
I only learned here recently that composting pickup was a thing (thanks to a garbage disposal discussion thread).  Previously, I thought composting was only something that gardeners did for personal use.

It looks like a local composting pickup is starting up in my city (major partner is a local CSA program).  They supply buckets and compostable liners, offer weekly pickup, and charge $36/month. 

I love this idea, but I don't think I'm willing to pay that price.  I currently pay $16.50/month for weekly garbage collection, and might be willing to pay that again for composting.  I don't tend to generate a lot of trash - about 1 tall kitchen bag a week - I'd take every-other week garbage collection if it was an option.  I'm not sure what percentage of that is food waste - I'm good about using up all the food I buy, so it's really just scraps.

Just curious - what do others pay for composting pickup?  Do you think the benefit to my community would actually be worth the cost?

Nate R

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Re: Composting Pickup
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2021, 11:59:17 AM »
I don't think I'd pay that much, either.

I pay $164 annually for a small cart that gets picked up every 2 weeks in winter months, or every week in summer. This is a private company, not subsidized.

BikeFanatic

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Re: Composting Pickup
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2021, 12:20:09 PM »
NJ,
could you get a neighbor to share with you since you produce so little trash, they take your trash and you take their compost? That way you can stop paying for trash ( one bag a week is nothing) and then paying for compost is not so bad.

uniwelder

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Re: Composting Pickup
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2021, 12:23:51 PM »
Living in a rural area, there’s no reason for a service like this to exist near me.

Couldn’t you possibly find a place to dump your compost? Anyone around you with a decent sized garden?  I wonder if any local restaurants have an agreement for a pickup service—- economies of scale?

crimp

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Re: Composting Pickup
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2021, 12:33:59 PM »
We pay $15 per month for the same service, and can ask for a bag of soil each month when they pick up the compost. Your rate sounds pretty high to me.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2021, 12:43:26 PM by crimp »

NotJen

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Re: Composting Pickup
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2021, 12:35:07 PM »
NJ,
could you get a neighbor to share with you since you produce so little trash, they take your trash and you take their compost? That way you can stop paying for trash ( one bag a week is nothing) and then paying for compost is not so bad.

I don't think I can opt-out of trash collection.

Living in a rural area, there’s no reason for a service like this to exist near me.

Couldn’t you possibly find a place to dump your compost? Anyone around you with a decent sized garden?  I wonder if any local restaurants have an agreement for a pickup service—- economies of scale?

I can do some research to see if there is a collection spot somewhere.  Local restaurants that care are partnering with this new company.

bacchi

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Re: Composting Pickup
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2021, 12:48:20 PM »
The city picks up our compost. The $25/month cost includes trash 1/week, compost 1/week, and recycling 2/month.

In your case, I'd find a neighbor or 2 and split the composting pickup. $36/month is a lot.

draco44

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Re: Composting Pickup
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2021, 01:24:59 PM »
Residential composting services is a mostly urban, and sometimes suburban thing. Composting is harder if you live in an apartment and don't have land to put a compost bin outside, for example. Some people in that type of living situation who care about the environment and want to reduce their waste, or go zero waste, are willing to pay the premium for such a service.

Also, professional composting services may be able to handle categories of food waste that doesn't as work well in a home compost bin, such as bone/meat scraps, because the commercial processing of compost tends to allow for higher pile temperatures and more regular maintenance than a home compost pile. Plastic-free take-out containers and utensils billed as "biodegradable" are also unlikely to break down in a home compost bin.

And many composting service companies focus on commercial clients in addition to or instead of residential clients. Restaurants are an especially good match for this type of service. Many offices in my area subscribe to composting services, or at least did pre-pandemic. The company puts a compost bin in the office rec room/pantry area for employees to dump their lunch scraps into, and the composting service empties the container on a regular basis. Theaters and concert/festival venues sometimes have composting contracts to. It's definitely not just for home gardeners anymore!

 

lhamo

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Re: Composting Pickup
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2021, 01:27:34 PM »
In our city (seattle), food and yard waste go in the same bin and the rate is MUCH lower than the garbage rate. I pay just $13/month for the largest food/yard waste bin (96 gallons, up to 180 lbs), but $31.50 for the second smallest garbage bin (20 gallons/30 lbs).  We PROBABLY could drop down to the smallest garbage option (12 gallons/20 lbs), but it is only about $5.00 cheaper per month and if we ended up having to put out an extra bag that would cost more.  We usually only have 1 partially filled kitchen-sized bag of garbage per week, and a little bit less than that of food waste depending on how much I divert to our own compost bins.

AMandM

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Re: Composting Pickup
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2021, 08:13:50 AM »
These posts make me feel very fortunate!  My county picks up kitchen compost waste, including meat and bones and biodegradable food containers, along with yard waste. There's no extra cost beyond the county property tax.

miked

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Re: Composting Pickup
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2021, 08:24:41 AM »
I started a composting pick-up service for my neighborhood during the spring (in mid-Michigan). I charge $6/pickup, most people do pick-ups every other week, some weekly. I supply a nice, screw-top 3 gal bucket and charge $10 to drop it off for the first time. I have ~20 customers. It takes me less than 2 hours a week to deal with it. I have ~2 compost piles going in the backyard right now, it's surprisingly not that much material even with 20 families. I pickup via bike trailer when the weather is nice.

I believe I could charge a bit more for each pickup, I do charge $8/pickup if you're slightly outside the neighborhood. I don't sell the finished compost, mostly use it ourselves or give it away to customers. It's a great side hustle. I built a website to advertise and manage accounts. Payments made mostly by cards using Stripe's API.

lhamo

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Re: Composting Pickup
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2021, 09:54:25 AM »
I started a composting pick-up service for my neighborhood during the spring (in mid-Michigan). I charge $6/pickup, most people do pick-ups every other week, some weekly. I supply a nice, screw-top 3 gal bucket and charge $10 to drop it off for the first time. I have ~20 customers. It takes me less than 2 hours a week to deal with it. I have ~2 compost piles going in the backyard right now, it's surprisingly not that much material even with 20 families. I pickup via bike trailer when the weather is nice.

I believe I could charge a bit more for each pickup, I do charge $8/pickup if you're slightly outside the neighborhood. I don't sell the finished compost, mostly use it ourselves or give it away to customers. It's a great side hustle. I built a website to advertise and manage accounts. Payments made mostly by cards using Stripe's API.

What an awesome service! 

Ecky

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Re: Composting Pickup
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2021, 09:52:44 AM »
Where I live, composting is mandatory - no food scraps allowed in trash. Most people take their trash to a transfer station, and there, compost drop-off (as well as recycling) is free, but you pay by the bag or in some cases by weight for trash.

Because composting (and recycling) is mandatory here, I *believe* all trash pickup services also pick up compost.

If I were living in an area where I could not start composting on my own property, trash pickup did not include compost, and I could not opt out of trash pickup, I imagine that would create some real barriers to composting. I'd be tempted to write to local politicians and see about changing things.

TrMama

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Re: Composting Pickup
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2021, 10:58:55 AM »
I started a composting pick-up service for my neighborhood during the spring (in mid-Michigan). I charge $6/pickup, most people do pick-ups every other week, some weekly. I supply a nice, screw-top 3 gal bucket and charge $10 to drop it off for the first time. I have ~20 customers. It takes me less than 2 hours a week to deal with it. I have ~2 compost piles going in the backyard right now, it's surprisingly not that much material even with 20 families. I pickup via bike trailer when the weather is nice.

I believe I could charge a bit more for each pickup, I do charge $8/pickup if you're slightly outside the neighborhood. I don't sell the finished compost, mostly use it ourselves or give it away to customers. It's a great side hustle. I built a website to advertise and manage accounts. Payments made mostly by cards using Stripe's API.

What an awesome service!

That's a fantastic idea. I've been trying to figure out how to get more free greens into my personal compost, but it never occurred to me that it could be a positive expense.

Our area has a ban on putting compostables in the garbage. I think compost pickup would only add $5/month to our monthly garbage bill, but we don't use it since I prefer to compost in the backyard. If any of my neighbours were in the OP's position, I'd happily take their compost waste too. Maybe try asking around? Look for a house that's clearly inhabited by a gardener ;-)

NotJen

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Re: Composting Pickup
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2021, 11:21:45 AM »
I looked around for community composting options here, but didn't find any.

Where I live, composting is mandatory - no food scraps allowed in trash. Most people take their trash to a transfer station, and there, compost drop-off (as well as recycling) is free, but you pay by the bag or in some cases by weight for trash.

Because composting (and recycling) is mandatory here, I *believe* all trash pickup services also pick up compost.

If I were living in an area where I could not start composting on my own property, trash pickup did not include compost, and I could not opt out of trash pickup, I imagine that would create some real barriers to composting. I'd be tempted to write to local politicians and see about changing things.

I could compost on my own property.  I just didn't know this was something I should be doing (I've been living in the south for too long, I suppose).  I'll be selling my home this year, so I'm not going to start composting on my own right now, but I will look for options, including DIY, when I move.

If any of my neighbours were in the OP's position, I'd happily take their compost waste too. Maybe try asking around? Look for a house that's clearly inhabited by a gardener ;-)

That's a good idea!  Thanks to the pandemic, I am very much a loner right now, but when things get back to normal and I go back to meeting new people, I'll keep an ear out for gardeners.


Like I said above, I'm planning to move this year, so while I'm willing to look for an easy pick-up or drop-off option to use in the short term, developing a new relationship isn't worth the effort to me right now.

seattlecyclone

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Re: Composting Pickup
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2021, 11:24:49 AM »
In our city (seattle), food and yard waste go in the same bin and the rate is MUCH lower than the garbage rate. I pay just $13/month for the largest food/yard waste bin (96 gallons, up to 180 lbs), but $31.50 for the second smallest garbage bin (20 gallons/30 lbs).  We PROBABLY could drop down to the smallest garbage option (12 gallons/20 lbs), but it is only about $5.00 cheaper per month and if we ended up having to put out an extra bag that would cost more.  We usually only have 1 partially filled kitchen-sized bag of garbage per week, and a little bit less than that of food waste depending on how much I divert to our own compost bins.

We don't have much trouble with the smallest landfill trash can. Like you, one bag of kitchen trash is all we usually make. We've never had to put out another bag for extra charge, but we do occasionally have to wait on taking out a bag of trash for a couple days until they empty the bin, on weeks where we throw away something unusually bulky. Not a big deal because all the smelly rotting stuff tends to go in the food waste bin. You're right the cost difference isn't that big either way.

I've been considering upgrading from the smallest compost bin because we pretty much always fill that up with something. On the other hand I find that the need to fill up the bin each and every week to prevent the yard from getting out of control forces me to actually do some weeding once in a while. If we had a huge bin that could easily accept all our yard waste whenever I felt like getting around to it, maybe I never would. The small bin is an incentive to get out there and do some every week, while also being an excuse to stop before I start hating it too much.

lhamo

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Re: Composting Pickup
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2021, 02:59:41 PM »
We don't have much trouble with the smallest landfill trash can. Like you, one bag of kitchen trash is all we usually make. We've never had to put out another bag for extra charge, but we do occasionally have to wait on taking out a bag of trash for a couple days until they empty the bin, on weeks where we throw away something unusually bulky. Not a big deal because all the smelly rotting stuff tends to go in the food waste bin. You're right the cost difference isn't that big either way.


Yeah -- in the 3+ years we have lived here I think I only have filled the 20 gallon bin once or twice and that was after some decluttering.  We could easily spread any extra garbage over a couple of weeks, or use some top off space in our neighbor's bin if we really needed it.  The cost difference is $60/year, which is about what I spent on seeds for the garden last year.  i should probably switch.

We have such a large yard and major shrubs that the larger yard waste bin is still worth it, I think.  It was pretty much full every week from March-end of November, though that is partly because we did a major pruning of the laurels that are all over our yard this year.  Won't do that again for another 2-3 years.  So maybe I should go down a size or two with that bin, too.

sonofsven

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Re: Composting Pickup
« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2021, 08:53:20 AM »
I think a Ford Courier would be a good choice.

jeninco

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Re: Composting Pickup
« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2021, 11:27:07 AM »
We have compost and recycling pickup on alternate weeks. (Trash pickup happens every week, but we're on the "Buy a box of 35 special pre-paid bags for around $3.50/week and put them out when they're full, generally every 4-5 weeks") Our compost is in a standard roll-away, and is compost/yard waste/whatever is compostable (so even greasy pizza boxes, and other cardboard food containers -- they're not supposed to be recycled with food junk on them).

I think the compost and recycling cost together is around $20/month, recently up from $16?

 

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