Count the Cost Or Compost Part Two

A simple way to help the environment is to put our waste into trash can and rubbish removal Northern Beaches Sydney will collect it.


The simple act of composting our own biodegradable domestic waste could save our councils from massive fines and passing these penalties on to us, their council tax payers. In the first part of this article we examined the costs of landfill and the potential penalties our councils might face if they do not meet their biodegradable municipal waste targets. This article examines the proportions of the various types of rubbish that makes up the content of our bin and suggests ways we can cut down on this waste and save money.

Saving fuel

A major cost of collecting our rubbish is comprised of fuel, where the price is escalating rapidly. If we can reduce the amounts that we leave at our kerbside for our councils to collect, then bin lorries will take less trips back to the depot thus saving fuel.

Dealing with what is in our rubbish

The Government agency Defra has published details of the make up of a typical dustbin in England. More than half the contents of our waste is made up of biodegradable material which we could compost. Halving the weight of our kerbside collection would dramatically reduce our councils escalating fuel costs and so help keep our council tax down. In addition, the cost of sending this to landfill is getting prohibitive because of the landfill tax and the scarcity of suitable landfill sites.

Garden waste and cardboard

The Defra figures show that 20% of our household waste is comprised of garden waste. Many councils collect this green waste, but if you have the space in your garden, it makes sense to compost it as this type of waste is bulky and heavy and so is expensive in fuel for your council to transport.

A further 18% of our waste is comprised of paper and cardboard. Most councils recycle this but cardboard is excellent to add to a conventional compost bin, especially if it is shredded or in smaller pieces. By layering and mixing your material such as grass and hedge clippings with cardboard, you will introduce air into your heap and this provides the best environment for the microbes that you need to compost your waste most efficiently. Within two weeks to one month, the bulk of your heap will have reduced, so to keep the process going at maximum efficiency, turn or mix your compost every month with a garden fork.

Kitchen waste costs us £10 billion per year!

Defra figures show that 17% of our waste is comprised of kitchen waste. Some councils have a kitchen waste scheme where they process the material in to compost. The Governments Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP) says that the average household throws away £410 worth of perfectly good food a year through buying more than we need or letting food go out of date or simply not realising what we have in our pantry. For a household with children the figure increases to£610. I imagine you can find a better way of using this money other than throwing it away!

We need to be more careful about how much food we buy and cook and how we keep our food fresh. Unfortunately, our supermarkets make this extremely difficult because many fruits and vegetables are packed rather than sold loose, so you have to buy large quantities whether you want to or not. We need to start complaining to our supermarkets about their packaging policies as this is keeping the price of food unnecessarily high and leads to needless waste at a time where there is a shortage of cheap food. If you have access to a local grocer or butcher in your area you will find you usually end up paying for what you need and so spend less. Although the price per pound might seem dearer, the actual cost is often less because you waste less and the quality is often better.

Inevitably there is some kitchen waste when preparing fresh food because of offcuts and we can often over estimate how much we can eat! Kitchen waste contains a high water content so it is expensive to transport. By investing in a suitable composter, you will dramatically reduce the waste you leave for kerbside collection. Furthermore after as little as two days in the composter, your kitchen waste bulk can reduce by up to one third. It is amazing how much the bulk of the material shrinks in the composter. If you live on your own or there are just two of you in your household, why not share the cost of a composter between households? By processing around 50% of your existing household waste, you will be in a great position when councils start to charge for compostable waste collection. I believe it is only a question of time before it happens.

Don’t loose sight of the fact that you will be producing compost which will become an increasingly valuable resource as the cost of fuel ramps up the cost at the garden centre. Compost is an important soil conditioner which improves the growing conditions for healthy plants thus improving our environment.

The author promotes composting through his website which encourages the recycling of kitchen and garden waste. For more details of a vermin proof composter designed to handle kitchen waste refer to

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