Backyard composting is a great way for municipalities to become more environmentally conscious while saving money and decreasing landfill waste. In most communities, composting is performed at a municipal yard which requires residents to expend fuel and time to haul their materials to the site. However, backyard composting programs involve a municipality providing compost bins to residents for free or at a subsidized cost for use at their property.

In 2013, The League of Wisconsin Municipalities looked at the Village of Waunakee to evaluate the monetary benefit of backyard composting. They found that if 20% of residents utilized a compost bin at home (paid for by the Village), the savings on landfill costs alone would be approximately $19,000 in a single year. With an initial one-time cost of $17,500 for the compost bins, the total savings for the first year would be $1,500. After the first year, however, there would be no cost to the municipality! Another benefit to this program would be decreased gas/vehicle maintenance for municipal trucks to the landfill.

The composting cost savings spreadsheet that was used for this study can be found here. Check it out to see how much your municipality could save!

Click here for more information on the benefits of composting and guidelines to using at-home compost bins. 

About the Author

Maria Kealy

Maria C. Kealey, E.I.T. 
Project Engineer

Maria brings fresh innovation coupled with effective communication skills to her role as a project engineer. She has been employed with Ruekert & Mielke, Inc. (R/M) since 2015 while she completed her degree in Civil Engineering and obtained a certificate in Environmental Studies at UW-Madison. Maria has been involved in a wide array of projects thus far, providing her with comprehensive knowledge of the industry. She understands the needs of clients to exceed expectations. These skills allow her to efficiently manage projects and coordinate design efforts, while maintaining timely communication with community staff and residents.

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