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Understanding the market for compost in your area

man potting some cuttings from a shrub with fresh compost inside a green house nursery

Are thinking about starting your own composting business? You will need to get a good idea of the availability of the feedstocks for the raw compost materials in your area. It’s also important to find out how many people in your area want to buy your processed compost. In this blog we will find out all you need to know about the supply and demand principles of composting.

<div id="compost-markets-us">What are the compost markets like in the United States?</div>

The United States compost industry is growing as more and more people become interested in composting. This has been fueled by people finding out the benefits of composting.

Composting is good for the environment as it reduces the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. It also helps to improve the structure and fertility of the soil, which can lead to healthier plants and gardens.

a compost pile at a local farm that is made up of leaves, grass and other compostable material. The pile has a wooden compost sign over it held up with rope

<div id="compost-sales-us">Compost sales in the United States</div>

Compost sales in the United States are focused on the residential markets. However more and more commercial customers, such as farmers, landscapers and golf courses are now buying lots of compost. The main markets for compost in the United States are located in the northeastern, southern and western regions of the country.

Compost supply and demand

The basics of compost supply & demand

Compost producers and sellers are always trying to compost as much material as possible. The more compost you make, the more you can sell and the more money you can make. However, compost markets can be volatile, and compost prices can go up & down rapidly. If you are thinking of starting a composting business you need to think about the principles of supply and demand.

The basics of supply and demand are simple. When there is high demand for a product but low availability, the price of the product will increase. On the other hand, when there is more supply of the product than there is demand, the price of it will decrease. In the compost market, these principles come into play in two main ways: feedstock availability and compost demand.

supply and demand graph on paper with a calculator on the side
Supply and demand can help you maximize your profits

Supply & demand of composting feedstocks

Feedstock availability means the amount of compostable material (food scraps, grass cuttings, etc.) that you can source to be composted. When there is a lot of organic waste available (e.g., leaves during the fall season), compost producers and sellers will have a lot of material to work with. This means they might have to send their compost at a lower price to compete with other suppliers. However, when feedstocks are hard to find (e.g., in the summer or during a drought) you will be able to charge a higher price as compost is much harder to find and buy.

carrot, potato peal and egg shells being used as compost feedstocks
Food scraps for compost feedstocks

Compost feedstock availability

The availability of feedstocks and markets for compost vary depending on the location. In general, urban areas have more options for compostable materials and potential customers than rural areas. However, there are a number of programs that aim to increase access to composting resources in rural areas. These typically involve working with local farmers and other businesses to collect compostable materials. These feedstocks are then used to make compost which is then made available to farmers' markets and other local outlets.

While the compost industry has traditionally relied on yard waste as a feedstock, there is a demand for compost made from food scraps. As a result, many commercial compost companies are now collecting food waste from restaurants, grocery stores, and other businesses.

If you live in an area with a lot of these types of businesses, you might consider approaching the owners or managers to ask them what they currently do with their waste. It might be possible that you can collect their waste for free or even charge them a fee for picking it up on their behalf.

large pile of golden brown leaves on the ground
Leaves make great compost feedstocks

Supply & demand of compost

Compost demand refers to the amount of compost that your customers, such as farmers or landscapers are willing to buy. When demand is high (e.g., during planting season), compost producers can charge a higher price because buyers are willing to pay more for compost to use in their gardens. However, when demand is low (e.g., during winter), compost producers may need to lower their prices in order to attract buyers.

By learning even the basics of supply and demand, you can make changes to the price of your product throughout the seasons helping you to maximize your profits.

compost in a wheelbarrow being shoveled in
Fresh compost on site

<div id="compost-quality">Can the quality of my compost affect my supply & demand?</div>

In order to increase compost sales, you should make a high-quality compost that meets your customer's needs. Good quality compost is important to compost markets as it affects supply & demand. Quality compost needs to nice to look at to appeal to consumers like landscapers or gardeners as they want to create beautiful garden beds and pathways.

High-quality compost has more nutrients and can fetch a higher price from buyers such as farmers and plant nurseries. These kinds of customers are looking for compost that will help their crops grow quickly and healthily.

flowers, shurbs and plants in a flowerbed made from high quality compost
Compost used for a flower bed

<div id="compost-supply-demand">Final notes on compost supply & demand</div>

Doing a survey of compost needs and availability in your area will give you valuable information about local compost supply & demand. Knowing how much compost your area produces, uses and needs from other suppliers will help you work out whether there is an opportunity for you to launch a business in compost sales.

Creating a compost business plan with information on your local markets can help you work out if setting up a compost business in your area is a good business idea. Taking time to do your research will help you make smart decisions when starting up a compost business.

<div id="help-composting">Need more help starting your compost business?</div>

Machinery Partner experts are always here to help! We source and finance all kinds of equipment for your compost business from excavators to screeners, trommels & conveyors. Give the team a call today!

There are also lots of great resources available from our friends over at the US Composting Council on setting up a compost business.
   

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