Compost Cost: What is the Price of Composting?

woman holding wallet and calculator

Composting can be a rewarding way to give necessary nutrients to your garden. It’s also a great way to reduce the food waste that you send to landfills. But have you ever thought about how much compost costs to make? Creating your compost at home can be done in a few different ways, but sometimes you need to consider buying compost if you have a particularly bigger project on your hands. There are many different factors that come into play when discussing the cost of using compost in your soil. Whether you are buying or making your homemade compost, this guide will break down the cost of compost. Here’s what we will be covering:

Let’s start at the beginning and discuss what the costs are when it comes to starting your own compost from scratch.


How much does it cost to start composting?

person hold compost with worms

Depending on the method you choose, starting a compost from scratch can cost anywhere from $50-$700. This is a basic list of items you may need to get started. Some items you might even already have on hand which saves you even more money!

The following table compares 3 popular methods to create nutrient-rich soil for your garden and the possible costs associated with each method. You might also want to check out our list of the best indoor/outdoor composters of 2022.


Compost Method

Equipment & Tools Needed

Cost

Vermicomposting

2 plastic bins

$5-$20 each

Drill

$30+

Screening material

$8-$20

Worms

$25-$50

Trowel

$5-$20

Backyard Composting 

Kitchen Compost Bin 

$15-$60

Gloves

$5-$20

Shovel/Pitchfork

$30-$50

Wheelbarrow

$60-$200

Rain Barrel

$0.50-$4/gallon

Electric Composting

Electric compost bin (Lomi)

$499

Charcoal filter and compost accelerator (Lomi)

$39/ 3-month supply


 

Lomi by Pela

Lomi

★★★★★

Lomi allows you to turn food waste into plant-ready nutrients in under 24 hours. Boost your plants while reducing your waste.


 

How much does store-bought compost cost per yard?

man picking up bags of compost

For some projects you need to buy compost. Compost is sold by volume and so when you’re looking at the cost of compost you should compare the cost per cubic yard. A cubic yard is the length, width, and height of the space you are trying to fill measured in yards. A yard is 3 feet.

Say you are trying to fill a space that is 3 ft by 9ft and you want it to be 2 inches deep you would first convert those numbers to yards and then multiply them. In this example, it would be 1-yard x 3-yards x 0.0556-yards = 0.1667 cubic yards of dirt. Most bags of compost from the store are about 1 cubic foot and there are 27 cubic feet in a cubic yard. So for this project, you would need about 5 bags of compost. The average compost price per bag is about $6 which means total this project would cost around $30. For larger projects, it makes more sense to buy bulk compost that can be delivered by truck.

Now that we have a general idea about store-bought compost prices, what about organic compost?


 


 

How much does organic compost cost?

compost with veggie scraps next to it

Surprisingly, the cost of organic compost is comparable to that of standard compost. Most compost sold at the store is labeled as organic because there are not as strict of regulations as there are for the foods we eat. Labels often boast that compost is “organic” even if it merely refers to the chemical organicness of the compost. This means that it’s simply carbon-based and doesn’t necessarily adhere to agricultural organic standards.

Even if the compost you are buying is labeled as organic, you still should be cautious of what materials are actually in it to ensure you are getting high-quality and nutrient-dense compost. Steer clear of compost that has words like “biosolids” or “inert ingredients” because these terms are often used to describe biological waste like sewage that you probably don’t want in your garden. Check out our guide on organic compost here.


5 factors affecting the cost of compost

Compost spilling out of a bag

Not all compost is created equal. When it comes to the cost of compost, there are 5 factors to take into consideration. You might be considering making your compost and weighing the pros and cons of a bin or a pile, going to the garden center and buying bags of compost, or (depending on how much compost you need) getting a truckload of: 

  1. Type of compost: Using store-bought compost is going to have a different price than making your own. This will most likely depend on the size of the area you need the compost for.
  2. Quality: The quality of your compost matters, but this also impacts the price you pay for compost. The better the quality, the higher the price.
  3. Location: How far away is the compost coming from? The further away the compost has to travel, the more it may cost.
  4. Home delivery: Is the compost being delivered to your home? There is often a fee that comes along with having compost delivered to your home instead of picking it up yourself.
  5. Buying in bulk: Depending on the size of the area you need compost for you might be better off buying bulk compost to save some money (and trips to the garden store!).

 


 

Try Lomi for an unlimited supply of natural fertilizer!

person holding lomi dirt over a lomi

If you want to make an unlimited supply of nutrient-dense dirt in a fast, convenient way then Lomi is the right product for you! Lomi can save you a lot of money in the long run because it is a one-time investment. Best of all, you can control exactly what goes into your fertilizer! Still on the fence about investing in a Lomi? Check out what others are saying about Lomi here, your plants will be happy you did!


Compost is a great asset for plant growth and can be used to enrich your home garden. Whether you are starting your own compost from scratch, buying compost from the local garden center, or investing in an efficient electric composter like Lomi, composting does not have to break the bank.


Written by: Sarah Kendal