Waste not want not: How composting can save you money

Apart from being a great way to help combat climate change in your own backyard, composting your food scraps can also come with some nifty short term and long term savings. 

In honour of National Composting Awareness Week, let’s take a look at how creating a working compost can not only save you money in the garden and on utilities but also help you attain a more thrifty ‘waste not want not’ attitude to food.

Save on water

According to EC Sustainable, using home compost on your flowers and veggies can reduce the need to water your garden by a considerable 30%. So composting could actually help reduce your water bill!

There are a few reasons for this.  Firstly, when used as a top soil, compost can stop moisture evaporating from the soil underneath and secondly, using organic composted food scraps on your plants actually helps them retain more water.

Save on fertiliser 

It only follows that if you compost your food scraps and use that nutrient rich soil on your plants, you’ll be making less if not zero trips to the local garden centre or hardware store to pick up fertiliser!

Just think, when you toss banana peels or apple cores in the landfill bin you’re actually throwing away really useful, free resources packed with nutrients that could help you grow your own veggies.

Adopt a more ‘waste not want not attitude to food’

A long term saving that will most likely come with creating a successful compost is the adoption of a good old fashioned ‘waste not want not’ attitude to food. In fact, according to Rabobank’s 2019 Food Waste Report, Australia is the 4th worst food waster with the average Aussie household throwing out over $1,000 worth of groceries every year. 

Successfully composting your potato peels or carrot ends will not only make you feel good about returning those nutrients to the earth, but you may also discover a new found respect for the process of growing food and possibly be inspired to cultivate your own green thumb.

You might even find yourself wanting to make use of those fruit and vegetable scraps in pickling, soup stock and homemade jam! (Hint Google broccoli stalk soup, you can thank us later). 

RELATED: Ways to avoid being a money waster during lockdown

Plus once you start digging into the problem of food waste, you’ll come across some surprising and worrying statistics. Like did you know that fruit and vegetable scraps sent to landfill actually contribute to climate change? This is because landfills are too tightly packed for even an organic apple or a pile of spinach to break down, so the rotting food produces methane instead - which as you know is an extremely harmful greenhouse gas.

How to get started composting?

If you have your own garden then you’re pretty much set, you can either have a go at building your own compost out of wood or you can pick up one from your local garden centre.

Of course if you’re a city dweller and you live in an apartment, it’s highly likely that you don’t have your own outdoor space, but that doesn’t mean you can’t compost. Here are just a few ways you can compost if you live in an apartment building:

  • Check out ShareWaste to find a compost near you. On this website you can pop in your postcode and find out if there are either any friendly neighbours or community gardens near you willing to share their compost. It may not be ideal in the current situation, but once social distancing is over, it’s definitely something worth thinking about.
  • Ask your building management if you can start a compost. If your apartment building has any little patches of green or a space round the back, why not ask your building management if you can start a compost! You could even put a note out to your neighbours to support you in your endeavours.
  • Look into the Bokashi two-bucket system. The Bokashi two-bucket system is a compact compost designed in Japan. Tip - if you’re going to invest in a compost bucket or bin, search for one through your local council’s website, you might be able to get a discount.

Interested to find out how else you can save money in an eco-friendly manner? Read our article How to save money and stay ethical for more tips and tricks.