Wulf's Webden

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Council compost

We needed to pop to a local council recycling centre today to drop of some bags of garden waste we didn’t want to compost. That was stuff like all the tiny calla lily bulblets, which seem to spring up an unwanted plant from a tiny piece. Hopefully the hot, bulk compost that the council can carry out will see those finished off. It’s a lovely plant in the right place but not one we wanted and certainly not as a ghost popping up in all sorts of spots.

We went to the Whetstone Recycling and Household Waste Site on the southwest side of Leicester. That’s out of our regular patch but is the only place in the county that presently offers the bags of compost and at least was an opportunity to build up our wider sense of geography. It’s not high grade stuff — the chap at the site made sure to point out it was better called ‘soil conditioner’ — but I’m looking for something to cover large areas cheaply rather than to get delicate seeds started and I think it will do the trick.

On the subject of cost, I knew it was cheaper than garden centre bags but I got curious about how much I was losing out compared to bulk bag offers. Delivery of such would be tricky, with suppliers often specifying kerbside delivery and emphasising all the challenges of negotiating narrow streets with HGVs. I plugged products from several sources into a simple spreadsheet – cost, volume in litres and thence cost per litre (plus cost per 50l and 100l for easy comparison with regular bags).

The council stuff comes in 40l bags at £3.25 a pop. We easily fitted ten in the boot and I reckon we could have sunk ten more without straining beyond capacity. That works out to about 8p a litre or £4.06 if it came in a 50l bag. It turns out that the next cheapest was Ningbo multipurpose at 10p a litre or £5.13 for 50l (and based on a 1000l bulk bag). It might be a little better quality but, for every 4l of Ningbo, I could get an extra litre of the council stuff.

All I need now is for the council to start offering the bags at the local recycling centre again. Better yet, if they opened up a nearby place where I could fill my own containers for an even cheaper price. Still, it was definitely worth doing the price comparison.

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