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November / December 2011

Vol. V No. 6

Serving Soil, Mulch, Compost, & Biofuel Professionals


Attention Readers !

Are you looking for Products, Equipment or Services for your business? If so, please check out these leading companies advertised in this issue: Bagging Systems

Amadas Industries – pg 20 Hamer LLC – pg 13 PremierTech Chronos – pg 12 Rethceif Packaging – pg 14 Universal Equipment – pg 22

Buildings & Structures ClearSpan – pg 21 Legacy Building Solutions – pg 11

Compost, Mulch & Wood Waste For Sale Litco International – pg 11

Compost Turners

HCL Machine Works – pg 20

In-Vessel Compost System Farmer Automatic – pg 15

Mulch Coloring Equipment/ Colorants Colorbiotics – pg 8 T.H. Glennon – pg 16

Shredders, Grinders, Chippers & Screening Systems Allu Group Inc – pg 9 Continental Biomass Industries – pg 10 CW Mill Equipment Co. – pg 5 Doppstadt – pg 17 EarthSaver Equipment – pg 21 Morbark Inc. – pg 2 Peterson – pg 7 REMU – pg 24 (back cover) Rotochopper Inc. – pg 23 Screen Machine Industries – pg 19 Screen USA – pg 21 West Salem Machinery – pg 22

Ex-Test Pilot Has Mulch Firm Flying High



f ever a song lyric could describe the varied career of John Spencer, it would definitely have to be “touch the earth, reach the sky.” Having spent his early years soaring through the clouds as a test pilot, including working on such projects as the X-22 aircraft and the Bell Rocket Belt, the latter a jet pack that could propel a person into the air ala James Bond in the movie Thunderball — Spencer is now firmly grounded in the mulch business. Mulch Manufacturing, the business that he started in 1985 with his son Ralph, is now the high flyer. Through savvy business moves, research and innovations and an entrepreneurial spirit, the Reynoldsburg, Ohio-headquartered business has grown to be one of the largest mulch producing companies nationwide. The company employs some 250 people throughout its various operations, and it shows no signs of letting up. “We’re in expansion mode,” says Spencer,

the chief executive officer of the business. His son serves as company president. Spencer admits that he never envisioned being in the mulch business. It was his son, he says, who had worked in lawn care and landscaping who came up with the idea that a store that sold mulch would be a viable business. “I never dreamed in my wildest dreams that I’d ever be making mulch,” Spencer says, adding with a laugh, “That wasn’t my childhood dream.” While he has fond memories of his days as a test pilot — he later ran a computer store in Columbus, Ohio, for about five years when personal computers were just bursting on the scene — he confesses that “I enjoy what I’m doing now.” Mulch Manufacturing started with a simple premise. “Our plan was to transport cypress logs from Florida to Ohio and grind those logs into Continued on page 3

Feed and Continuous Production

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Building EquipmEnt that CrEatEs OppOrtunitiEs

Info Request #100 2

Soil & Mulch Producer News 

November / December 2011



Mulch Producer NEWS

Ex-Test Pilot Has Mulch Firm Flying High

Continued from page 1

PUBLICATION STAFF Publisher / Editor Rick Downing Contributing Editors / Writers P.J. Heller Perry A. Trunick Production & Layout Barb Fontanelle Christine Pavelka Advertising Sales Rick Downing Subscription / Circulation Donna Downing Editorial, Circulation & Advertising Office 6075 Hopkins Road Mentor, OH 44060 Ph: 440-257-6453 Fax: 440-257-6459 Email: For subscription information, please call 440-257-6453. Soil & Mulch Producer News is published quarterly by Downing & A s s o c i a t e s. Re p r o d u c t i o n s or transmission of Soil & Mulch Producer News, in whole or in part, without written permission of the publisher is prohibited. Annual subscription rate U.S. is $19.95. Outside of the U.S. add $10.00 ($29.95). ontact our main office, or mail-in the subscription form with payment. Copyright 2011 by Downing & Associates


Printed on 10% Post-Consumer Recycled Paper

mulch in Ohio,” Spencer recalls. “Our marketing investments, smooth our production demand area would be the state of Ohio only and we and improve delivery times to our customers would only have one product, cypress mulch. It during the season,” Spencer explains. was a logical business starting plan. That was Today, Mulch Manufacturing offers three our business model in 1985.” types each of cypress mulch, hardwood mulch It wasn’t long before the quality of the and pine needles, along with seven varieties company’s mulch attracted larger customers, of pine bark mulch, two types of cedar mulch who wanted Mulch Manufacturing to service and eight types of colored mulch and coloring them in other areas. To meet that demand, the equipment and colorants. The bulk of its mulch company in 1989 constructed a plant on 100 sales are bagged products with only a small acres in Callahan, Fla. fraction being sold in bulk. “This location provided the ability to The company has dabbled in other product address a larger market area by using offerings, such as compost, firewood and intermodal rail and a plant near the soils, but those efforts have been shortSpencer source of our primary raw supply,” lived. says the Spencer explains. “This gave us the “We always returned to our strategic advantage of having a primary business that we know company plant in the heart of our customer best and that’s mulch,” Spencer plans to base and another plant in the heart says. “There are other products announce a of our raw material supply.” that a lot of mulch companies new product The Florida plant allowed offer . . .We just don’t think that that will extend the company to expand its market is our primary product and we the color in throughout the east, which today want to stay focused on what we mulch for up stretches from the Mississippi know best.” to two years. River to the Atlantic Ocean. The economic recession Testing has also has had little impact on the At about the same time that the Florida plant began shipping business. produced a product, the company devised a “Normally this business colorant that way to quickly unload mulch from prospers during a recession can last as its trucks at customer sites. environment,” Spencer says. “That long as four Utilizing a forklift that could has always been true and has been years. be transported on the tractor of a true in this recession also. However, truck hauling mulch allowed a driver this recession has been a little bit to deliver and unload the product without different in that it’s a lot deeper and we requiring customer assistance, equipment or didn’t see as much of a growth in the business additional labor. as we would normally see in a smaller recession. “This concept opened the convenience store But we certainly held our own and even grew market for selling mulch, which now accounts for during the recession.” approximately one-third of our business base,” Of greater impact were constant and heavy Spencer notes. spring rains, coming at a time when mulch sales The delivery system spawned the Rose typically are at their highest level. Transport subsidiary, which operates some 15 “We didn’t have a normal spring where most to 25 tractors with its own staff and drivers. of the sales normally are,” he notes. “However, Although authorized to operate in 48 states, the business came around and we finally did its primary function is to make deliveries to catch up. We’re having a normal year now, but customers who require special services such as the spring was devastating.” forklift unloading and drayage from the Florida One of the most significant developments plant to the Jacksonville rail yard. in the business, according to Spencer, was Meantime, the company continued to the addition of coloring agents to the wood grow. The Florida plant expanded with the products. addition of pine bark processing equipment. “The demand has exploded in the last The Ohio facility added hardwood bark decade and we expect it to grow even more in processing equipment. the years to come,” he says. During the early 1990s, the company also In addition to producing colored mulch, the began creating distribution lots near its customer company in 2002 launched Nature’s Reflections base. Today, it maintains some 25 lots for Colorants to develop, manufacture and sell finished products. colorants and related products, including “These lots made it possible to utilize our coloring machines, to the industry. Spencer says the company plans to announce production capacity in the off-season to increase Continued on page 22 potential sales without additional capital November / December 2011   Soil & Mulch Producer News




Mulch Producer NEWS

Transportation Costs Squeezing Organic Material Producers



ransportation costs are going up, and until the market effect rationalizes, that leaves mulch, soil and compost producers in a cost/price squeeze. It’s cold comfort to these companies that increasing transportation costs are affecting everyone. With transportation costs representing a disproportionately high cost for commodity producers, the impact is exacerbated. Without some ability to pass that cost along in the price of their product, the industry faces a classic squeeze play. Noel Perry, FTR Associates, says simply, “The good old days when transportation costs fell every year are over.” The industry economist adds, “It’s not about negotiating skill, it’s about a fundamental change in cost.” On the large scale, logistics costs (which include transportation) account for roughly 9% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The 2010 figure was down slightly from the prior year, according to Rosalyn Wilson, author of the State of Logistics Report, because of decreased volumes. But, within the larger figure, transportation costs are increasing. Another view, offered by the 2012 Third-Party Logistics Study presented by CapGemini, pegs North American logistics costs at 11% of sales revenues. But, for commodity businesses like mulch, transportation can be as much as 50% of the producer’s costs, says Perry. Comparing commodity producers’ transportation costs to other sectors is immaterial, according to Perry, “It’s going to get worse.” Perry points out that when truck transportation was cheap and plentiful, shippers made demands without regard for the effect on cost. “Now, what we know is that truckers have largely eliminated waste in the system. There’s not a lot of low-hanging-fruit with respect to increasing productivity in trucking,” he adds. Supply chains weren’t designed to help trucking, he continues. “They’ve been designed to reduce inventory or plant or warehouse costs.” Other external factors have had or threaten to have a negative impact on motor carrier productivity, which will increase the challenge to hold costs down.

Looking at Drivers


number of factors are driving these fundamental changes, including drivers themselves. The capacity crunch in the motor carrier industry is a fairly predictable thing, Perry points out. Industry figures show an aging workforce with low numbers of young workers entering a career in trucking. But, beyond demographics, the industry is facing some challenges. Safety reporting rules known as CSA 2010 (Compliance, Safety, Accountability) have taken effect which take a closer look at driver performance and safety rating in determining a carrier’s safety rating. While this may affect the shipper’s selection of a carrier, the carriers themselves have had to scrutinize their pool of drivers and driver applicants to ensure the driver scores won’t reduce the carrier’s own score. As with previous regulations affecting drivers, the industry anticipated losing some drivers. Perry notes he expected the industry to take about a 3% hit, but, “It looks like it is higher.” The economy also comes into play. Trucking companies compete with construction for workforce. When construction increases and jobs are available closer to home, long-haul drivers will often opt for a construction job that allows them to spend less time away from home. Another regulatory issue that affects the trucking industry is hours-ofservice rules. Current regulations allow 11 duty hours, but a proposed rule would reduce that by one hour. That doesn’t sound like much of a change, but as one motor carrier points out, drivers currently have 660 minutes available and the new rules would reduce that by 9% to 600 minutes. Across a fleet and across an industry, a 9% productivity loss is huge. At the very least, it adds 4

Soil & Mulch Producer News 

November / December 2011

to overhead costs. But on a larger scale, it means putting more trucks on the road to handle the same volumes, and that places additional demands on an already declining driver pool. Fuel costs are another issue which hits mulch producers both in the transportation area and production. The wild gyrations may have moderated, but the market prices have settled at a higher level. One mulch producer reported his fuel costs alone have doubled. He is looking at replacing as much of the diesel-powered equipment in his operation as possible with electric motors. Replacing trucks is not as easy.

Transportation Alternatives


ulk commodities share one characteristic which limits transportation choices – they are heavy. Even bagged mulch, soil and compost will reach the weight limit for a truck before filling the space available in a dry-van trailer. A dry van is a more desirable mode in trucking because of its versatility. Motor carriers can achieve better equipment utilization because the type of trailer doesn’t limit what they can haul. An outbound shipment (headhaul) of bagged material in a dry van doesn’t limit the motor carrier’s ability to find a different product moving in the return lane (backhaul). In addition, companies that manufacture and ship organic material may be able to find trucks that are delivering their primary headhaul load near the mulch production facility and take advantage of lower backhaul rates carriers often offer to reduce the empty miles the truck must travel back to origin. Rail typically moves at some fraction of truck rates. Though rail boxcars offer a much greater carrying capacity, it is necessary to stack multiple pallet levels to get full utilization of that space. If bagged material can be palletized and stacked two or three levels high, says Perry, the load might reach 100 tons. Moving bulk commodities by rail – loose in hoppers or packaged in boxcars – requires access to a rail line. And, though railroads are a lower-cost alternative to trucks, the railroads have changed their mindset on pricing, says Perry. They don’t feel compelled to compete for market share, he explains, and because capacity is limited, the railroads may be less inclined to make concessions in every contract. “The railroads compete with each other and with what the Surface Transportation Board will allow [on pricing] and with what the customer will put up with long term with respect to plant location.”

Increasing Sophistication


o, what can mulch, soil and compost producers do to cope with transportation costs? The old attitude of beating on carriers for cost concessions isn’t going to work, according to Perry. It might gain a few months, but in the end, that approach will reach its limits. Perry suggests a supply chain approach that links the operations and needs of the producer to those of the carrier. “There is an opportunity to reduce transportation cost if you link the two,” says Perry. For instance, you can make the dock operation more efficient, he explains. Get the trucks in and out faster. Truckers know who delays them and who doesn’t, he says. Viewed in the context of the limited duty time a driver has, productivity of that limited asset is critical to the overall efficiency and cost structure for the carrier. If the hours-of-service regulations reduce the duty time, inefficient shipping docks

Continued on next page



Mulch Producer NEWS

Continued from previous page

will incur additional costs or those shippers may have a more difficult time finding quality motor carriers willing to haul their freight. Another area for improvement which Perry highlights is to provide better information to the trucker. Tell them what you’ll be shipping next week, he says, so they can plan better and match resources to the demand. Better yet, he adds, ask the carrier what his business looks like and try to fit your shipments to the carrier’s schedule where possible. A third area where Perry sees potential for improvement is in reducing irregular route demand. That isn’t likely to happen, he admits, but one thing a shipper can do is have fewer promotions (which can result in spikes in demand). Another way to avoid some of the irregular demand is to ship before peak times.

Taking on Transportation


t may start to sound like the easier alternative is to operate a private fleet and handle your own transportation. That can work for those who have sufficient volumes. A full-time fleet guarantees capacity will be available when needed, but it comes at a cost. One of the biggest costs is the capital expense of the vehicles themselves. The other major cost is the drivers. With stricter safety regulations and other issues like hours of service still evolving, this specialized workforce carries a premium not only in cost but in maintenance. Keeping a fleet efficient means running it down the highway with a full load. Again, mulch, soil and compost producers who have sufficient volumes might keep outbound trailers full, but they face an issue with the empty return. Hiring out the capacity adds complexity to managing the fleet. An alternative is a contract fleet which is operated by a motor carrier or third-party logistics company (3PL) that specializes in transportation and logistics. The producer contracts for a specified amount of capacity over time and the service provider dedicates the capacity to that shipper. Surge capacity might be handled by the same provider or could be purchased on the spot market. Until recently, Bob Delbridge, owner of Wholesale Wood Products, owned and operated a fleet of tractors and trailers for over-the-road deliveries of mulch products. Operationally, it made sense, says Delbridge. The equipment was somewhat specialized, including hydraulic units on the tractors to power “walking floors” in trailers. Delbridge says that the volumes he had didn’t keep the fleet operating full time, so he was hiring part-time drivers. In addition to operating costs for a fleet that was not being used full time, Delbridge noted maintenance costs could present challenges if there was a spike in repairs. The mulch producing operation was a sister company to a tree maintenance business which had its own fleet of mid-sized “vocational” vehicles. The overthe-road tractor-trailer operation wasn’t compatible with those operations, so Delbridge decided to get out of the over-the-road business. He talked to some of the larger companies doing leased and contract fleet operations, but they did not appear interested in a fleet of the size he needed. He ended up with a smaller regional company that operates a fleet with 400 trailers and could handle contract transportation for the mulch operation. Along with the advantages of eliminating the capital expense of owning, operating, and maintaining a small fleet that is not core to his business, Delbridge says the contract transportation operation reflects some of the things that are part of his own company – a safety training program, dress code, and driver attitude. Because he was only using part-time drivers in his private fleet operation, Delbridge thinks he will see some improvement in customer service as the 3PL’s drivers integrate into his distribution and customer service network. In the meantime, Delbridge is selling his small fleet of tractors and walking-bed trailers. In broad terms, the bargaining power of the shipper is declining while the bargaining power of the carrier is increasing, says Perry. A more collaborative approach where the shipper can work with the carrier to find ways to improve the overall supply chain actually levels the playing field a bit. It is certainly less adversarial than traditional rate negotiations. With mulch, soil and compost producers caught between rising transportation costs and price sensitivity of their customers, streamlining efficiency with improved cooperation along the supply chain could ease some of the impact. Is there long-term relief? Much depends on external factors such as the hours-of-service rules, any changes in size-and-weight regulations, and the state of the economy. But, the fundamental changes taking place are affecting everyone, so in the longer term, costs are likely to equalize somewhat and relieve some of the squeeze. Info Request #136 November / December 2011   Soil & Mulch Producer News


Product/Equipment Profiles 6

Fecon® Introduces New Mulching Attachment

Peterson Introduces the 4800F Chain Flail Debarker

econ® introduces s e v e r a l performance advancements in its new BH300 Bull Hog® mulching attachment for 200-600hp tractors. The BH300 comes standard with the patented HDT Step Rotor system, two cutting diameters and staggered tool pattern, for optimal cutting efficiency. Hydraulically powered with 80-210 gpm the BH300 has both fixed and variable displacement motor options to be configured to contractor requirements. A PTO version of the BH300 is available for tractors from 200-450hp. Dual over running clutches in the drive line are provided for drive line protection and a patented synchronized gear box is provided for improved range of motion. The newly designed BH300 severe-duty body features an abrasion resistant AR400 bulkhead and weighs approximately 7,710 Lbs (depending on options). Standard features include a hydraulic trap door and a double-curtain of heavy debris chain at the rear. Aggressive counter cutting rakes staged in the bulkhead contribute to efficient material reduction. An optional hydraulic tilting push bar is also available.

eterson’s popular 4800E Chain Flail Debarker, designed for removing bark for clean pulp and paper chips, has had a major redesign, which includes many new features that clean chip producers demand. The new 4800F features a 350HP (265KW) CAT C9 TIER 4 engine, upper and lower flail drives (similar to Peterson’s 5000H whole tree chipper), direct drive lower in-feed and out-feed rolls, floating direct drive upper feed rolls, a 5-foot wide bark pusher, and Peterson’s IQAN control system. The machine also features a dedicated 100 gallon (567 l) hydraulic oil tank, and a 200 gallon (757 l) fuel tank to allow the 4800F to run an entire shift without fill-up. With a retractable gooseneck, the highway legal 4800F is easily moved between jobs and has an estimated curb weight of 48,100 lbs. (21,817 K). The four fixed landing gear (with floating pads) allow the 4800F’s operating height to be adjusted easily and stable once it’s on the job. The operator can operate the machine with a wireless remote which also can pair with the Peterson 5900 disc chipper.


If you’d like more information about the BH300 please call Kate Brodbeck or Courtney Shafer at 513-696-4430 or e-mail Kate at or Courtney at

RAYCO Introduces New 12-inch Gas-Powered Brush Chipper


For more information contact Peterson at 541-689-6520 or visit

Premier Tech Chronos Offers Single & Fully Integrated Screening Systems


AYCO’s newly designed 12” capacity chipper offers an economical solution to rising price of diesel fuel and the hassle of dealing with diesel emission regulations. This gas-powered 12” chipper is compact and lightweight, tipping the scales at just under 4,700lbs. It is powered by an 89hp GM gasoline engine and equipped with an AutoClutch, spring adjusted clutch. RAYCO’s exclusive X-Charge discharge fan maximizes discharge velocity to prevent plugging. The large, 20-inch diameter, feed wheel is driven by a planetary hydraulic drive motor with torque to climb over logs and pull in brush. The chipper throat is one of the widest in its class at 20-inches wide, so the chipper can accept crotches easier than some equipment with smaller throat openings.

hether you need a single-screening unit to complete your system, or a fully integrated screening system, Premier Tech Chronos can provide you with innovative, efficient and reliable solutions. Its specialty in custom-designed and manufactured screening line systems allows meeting every customer’s production requirements by determining the optimum layout, number, size and type of screening equipment, as well as level of automation and flexibility needed. We offer a wide range of screening equipment, including many types of screeners: star screener, disc screen, trommel screen. The purpose of these systems is to separate material by size, a process which allows sorting good product from rejects that can be disposed of or reprocessed through a size reducing equipment either offline or integrated to the line. Our screening systems are designed and built to provide ease of operation and minimum maintenance reducing direct labour costs. Safety guards are included and in accordance with highest regulations (OSHA, CSA, CE).

For more information on this, or any other RAYCO product, visit or call toll free at 1-800-392-2686.

For more information: Premier Tech Chronos at 418-868-8324 or or visit


Soil & Mulch Producer News 

November / December 2011

Make Mountains of Mulch High volume mulch producers know that when they have taken care of the logistics of a mulching operation, they need the power, reliability, and quality that only a Peterson horizontal grinder can provide. • Caterpillar power from 475 to 1200hp • Over 500 yards per hour output capacity • Lowest cost per ton output No matter what your grinding application, Peterson’s horizontal grinders can get you the volume and productivity that you demand. For more information about Peterson products, call Peterson at 800.269.6520 or visit us at today!







BTR • PO BOX 40490 • Eugene, OR 97404 800-269-6520 •

Info Request #127 November / December 2011   Soil & Mulch Producer News


Take our new red and black for a run. (It’ll be intense.) As if Colorbiotics mulch colorants weren’t already the world’s most popular, we’re making our red and black versions even more desirable. We’ve enhanced these super-concentrated, highly popular colors to be even redder and blacker, with greater intensity and the same outstanding durability and longevity as before.


At Colorbiotics, we take pride in being the leader of new product development for the mulch industry. These new technologies help you grow your business, increase your profits, and enhance your yield. We support these new and existing products with unmatched customer support. Check out the difference — contact us and schedule a red or black color run today! 888.663.6980 | Colorbiotics and the Colorbiotics logo are trademarks of Becker Underwood in the U.S. and / or other countries. © 2011 Colorbiotics. All Rights Reserved.

Info Request #116 8

Soil & Mulch Producer News 

November / December 2011



MGM Resorts Recognized with National Honors for Food Recycling Program


GM Resorts International has earned top honors from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for outstanding achievement in food waste recycling programs at the Company’s Las Vegas Strip resorts. The Company will be presented with the EPA’s 2011 WasteWise Gold Achievement-Food Recovery Award as part of the agency’s annual competition, which recognizes public and private entities for their environmental sustainability efforts.  The EPA gave Gold Achievement awards in 12 sustainability categories.   “With millions of people dining each year at our 165 restaurants and 11 employee dining rooms located on the Las Vegas Strip, MGM Resorts is committed to leading the way to reduce our waste to landfill,” said MGM Resorts Senior Vice President of Energy and Environmental Services Cindy Ortega. During 2010, the Company recycled 8,722 tons of food waste at its Las Vegas hotels, which represents 25 percent of all recycled tonnage at the resorts.  The accomplishment marks a significant increase in food waste recycling rates since 2007, when the properties first recorded food recovery rates, and recycled 3,353 tons of food waste. MGM Resorts’ Las Vegas properties partner with RC Farms of North Las Vegas, which feeds 3,000 pigs a day with food scraps from local resorts and casinos.  A second partner, Denver-based A1 Organics, sends crews to resort loading docks to gather food waste and haul it to its local composting site. Criteria for the EPA’s WasteWise Food Recovery Award included:   food recovery policies, quantity of food waste prevented or reduced, quantity of food donated or reused, quantity of food waste composted, and the scope of food recovery initiatives implemented. “Our Company is tremendously honored to be singled out for our efforts among the 150 organizations that applied for the awards,” said Brad Tomm, MGM Resorts Director of Sustainable Operations. Food waste is the second largest waste stream in the United States after paper, according to the EPA. During 2009, 34 million tons of food waste were generated in the United States. Of that, 33 million tons, or 97 percent was thrown away into landfills or incinerators.

Screen Soils

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Mulch Producer NEWS

California City Aims at 80% Organic Waste Recycling


isalia, CA– reports that WC Wood Industries in Visalia operates on a 91-acre site processing about half of the food waste, yard waste and paper board and yard trimmings generated by the residents of the city. It also receives tree waste and lumber from local landscapers. The remaining half of the residential city waste is dealt with at a composting plant in Tulare. Cleaner lumber is turned into mulch or humus, ground, screened and reduced to chips and sold to homeowners and landscapers. About 95% of the finished compost is sold to nut and fruit farmers. The program is in response to a State of California mandate that 50% of residential garbage be recycled in 2013. Tulare County last year met the challenge by recycling and composting 69%, and it is working toward a goal of 75% to 80% by increasing the kinds of waste that can be put into its curbside green recycling bins to include food scraps, boxes, food containers or wax-film paper. Plastic is not accepted as it cannot be broken down by decomposition, but the city does have recycling bins for newspaper, glass, and plastic.

Mix Compost

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• Over 70 models available to fit EVERY machine • High production even with wet muddy materials • 5/8” & 1” Screening size with replaceable hammers • Stronger outer shell for longer wear and less maintenance ALLU Group Inc. Info Call: 1-800-939-2558 | Email: Info Request #128 November / December 2011   Soil & Mulch Producer News




Mulch Producer NEWS

TSU Compost Project Saves on Waste Hauling


an Marcos, TX–Texas State University now has as on-campus made compost project, Bobcat Blend, that collects combined food waste, cardboard and invasive plant species from everywhere, including campus dining halls, cafeterias and even the San Marcos River. A total of 34,949 pounds of food waste has been taken from all of the collection sites since the beginning of the fall semester. Bobcat Blend is hoped to be expandable into residence halls, using small buckets in each rooms and larger containers in halls. Composting bins are now available at almost all of the collection sites for individual dumping. The project began two years ago, under direction from Jason Sanders, a former horticulture student, with a staff of seven and the help of volunteers. The composting site is the school’s five-acre Muller Farm, with half of that used for compost piles. A retention pond collects water runoff. The resulting compost is used in agriculture, horticulture or landscaping work. The facility was built with grant money through the Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality. The collection project receives funding from grants and the student environmental service fee of $1 per student. A student study showed composting saves the university about $1,000 to $3,000 in waste hauling fees per year.

The Smartest Way to Process Mulch

IMPORTANT Trade Show Events! Mark Your Calendar Montana Nursery & Landscape Association 2012 Montana Green Expo January 4-5, 2012 Holiday Inn – Grand Montana, Billings, MT / 406-755-3079 Western Nursery & Landscape Association 2012 National Green Centre January 8-9, 2012 Overland Park Convention Center, Overland Park, KS / 888-233-1876 Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show (MANTS 2012) January 11-13, 2012 Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, MD / 800-431-0066 North Carolina Nursery & Landscape Association 2012 Green & Growin’ Trade Show January 16-20, 2012 Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, NC / 919-816-9119 Mid-America Horticulture Trade Show January 18-20, 2012 Navy Pier, Chicago, IL / 800-300-6103 Florida Nursery Growers & Landscape Association Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition (TPIE) January 18-20, 2012 Greater Ft Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center, Ft Lauderdale, FL / 800-375-3642

There are many ways to process wood for mulch. CBI’s Magnum Force Grinders just happen to be the smartest! Engineered and built for highest throughput, lowest operating cost, maximum durability, and minimal downtime — CBI provides a better return on investment than any competitive system in the global market today. Now that’s smart! Features include: • Heavy-duty rotors and screens • Clamshell opening for access to hog box • Full radio remote control • Caterpillar diesel or electric motor

• PT Tech hydraulic clutch • CBI Intelligrind control system • Flexxaire Auto-reversing Fan • Portable, stationary, or track versions

Learn more about CBI grinders, chippers, and shredders by calling 603-382-0556 or visit us online at:

Continental Biomass Industries, Inc.

Newton, NH

Info Request #170 10 Soil & Mulch Producer News  November / December 2011


West Virginia Nursery & Landscape Association 2012 Winter Workshop & Symposium January 18-29, 2012 Summit Conference Center, Charleston, WV / 304-553-1234 2012 Gulf States Horticultural Expo January 19-20, 2012 Mobile Convention Center, Mobile, AL / 334-502-7777 Ohio Nursery & Landscape Association CENTS 2012 Marketplace January 23-25, 2012 Greater Columbus Convention Center, Columbus, OH / 614-899-1195 New Jersey Nursery & Landscape Assoc. NJ Plants January 24-25, 2012 New Jersey Convention Center, Edison, NJ / 800-332-3976 New England Grows! February 1-3, 2012 Boston Convention and Expo Center, Boston, MA / 508-653-3009 Northwest Flower & Garden Show February 8-12, 2012 Washington State Convention Center, Seattle, WA / 253-756-2121


British Columbia Sees Some Controversy in Developing Forest Biomass


Mulch Producer NEWS

innovative Buildings. Legendary Service.


ritish Columbia’s attempt to develop a bioenergy industry, using wood to generate electricity, is facing new tests, reports BC Hydro has twice made calls for proposals on bioenergy projects, but scientists are raising questions about whether wood is a carbon-neutral source of energy. Hydro’s last call for proposals has two companies with four stand-alone plants to produce 754 gW hours a year of electricity, a relatively small amount. To make it profitable, West Fraser Mills and Western Bioenergy, a subsidiary of French energy firm Dalkia, are to be paid a maximum adjusted price of $150 a mWh, says the BC Hydro. The base rate paid for power is usually in the $45 a mWh range. BC chief forester Jim Snetsinger says the province wants to develop a synergy between the mills and the energy producer. Bioenergy plants use sawmill residue first, then debris at logging sites and finally harvested wood from beetle-killed stands of pine, the most expensive form of fuel and one to be avoided. Plus, says Snetsinger, biomass harvesters follow the same environmental rules as forest companies about the amount of debris to leave behind, and that data on carbon accounting in the province is limited. West Fraser’s two plants fit in with its sawmills at Fraser Lake and Chetwynd, while Dalkia wants to build at Fort St. James and Merrit. Greenpeace is on the offensive, and has released a report asking for better controls on harvesting biomass, more detailed measure of carbon emissions, and limiting bioenergy projects to small, local operation. The Greenpeace report, Fuelling a Biomess, says that once the total carbon footprint from harvesting, processing and burning is taken into account, forest biomass is not green. Proponents, on the other hand, say the wood used is the beetle-killed wood that would have to be burned anyway to prevent forest fires. “These trees are all dead; they are not absorbing carbon anymore,” said John Allan, president of the Council of Forest Industries. He also said his industry sees the wood as an additional resource for the production of co-generated energy, as a way to develop new bioenergy plants that would integrate into the existing lumber-pulppaper supply chain. University of B.C. professor emeritus Hamish Kimmins adds that the issue is a complex one, but that there is risk if too much wood waste material is removed from the forest floor. “It should be considered as just one of several possible forest products. It should be evaluated the way the removal of any other product is evaluated. In other words, you have to look at what is the intensity of removal, what is the frequency of removal, and what are the soil conditions on the site.”

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Info Request #172

Terry Potter Joins Colorbiotics as Manager of Research and Development


olorbiotics®, a developer and manufacturer of landscape colorants and coating products, has announced that Terry A. Potter has joined the company as research and development manager. Potter earned his doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of Iowa and brings more than 30 years of related experience to the Colorbiotics research and development team. Potter served in a variety of research and management capacities for a major global chemical company prior to joining Ames, Iowa-based Colorbiotics. Most recently, Potter led a team of formulation professionals and support technicians to develop new products, and spearheaded research and technical modifications to enhance the chemical properties of several existing products for a leading adhesives manufacturer. Potter also served as head of industry innovations in the consumer products division of a global chemical company, his tenure there spanning nearly three decades. Info Request #155 November / December 2011   Soil & Mulch Producer News 11



Mulch Producer NEWS

Study Says Forest Waste Recycling Could Add to Carbon Problem


ortland, OR–A study published in the journal, Nature Climate Change, conducted by the College of Forestry at Oregon State University along with French and German researchers, has shown that a major effort to use forest waste to produce energy from West Coast forests would add to carbon dioxide emissions at least 14%, when compared to current operations. The study, supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, examined 80 forest types and 19 bio-regions in Oregon, Washington and California, including public and private forest lands and varying management practices. “Most people assume that wood bioenergy will be carbon-neutral, because the forest re-grows and there’s also the chance of protecting forests from carbon emissions due to wildfire,” says Tara Hudiburg, a doctoral candidate at OSU and lead author. “However, our research showed that the emissions from these activities proved to be more than the savings.” But there were exceptions for forests in high fire-risk zones that become weakened by insects or drought. “Until now there have been a lot of misconceptions about impacts of forest thinning, fire prevention and biofuels production as it relates to carbon emissions from forests,” says Beverly Law, a professor in the OSU Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, and co-author of the study. “If our ultimate goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, producing bioenergy from forests will be counterproductive,” Law says. “Some of these forest management practices may also have negative impacts on soils, biodiversity and habitat.”

US Composting Council Announces Hiring of its New Executive Director


he United States Composting Council (USCC) recently announced the hiring of Michael Virga as its new Executive Director. Mr. Virga, formerly the Executive Director of Forestry at the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), has been engaged in sustainability efforts throughout his thirty-year career. “Michael brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the USCC, as well as a seasoned business ethic, that will help our members facilitate the growth of composting and organics recycling through education, communication and public policy,” said Frank Franciosi, President of the USCC. Recognizing the efforts of outgoing Executive Director, Stuart Buckner, Mr. Franciosi stated, “the success of the highly-regarded USCC Annual Conference and Trade Show can be attributed to Stuart. I want to thank him for his leadership of the organization over the last several years.” Mr. Virga has been a strong spokesman on environmental issues and has a long track record of delivering value to trade association members and stakeholders. “The recycling of organic materials is central to achieving healthy soils, clean water and a sustainable society. I am proud to have the opportunity to further grow and expand this industry - we have not yet reached our full potential.” said Virga. USCC Vice President and President of Turning Earth, LLC, Andrew Kessler commented, “Michael’s strategy is to grow the industry by focusing on our members - delivering value to them to enable them to thrive. We are really excited about our future under Mike’s leadership.”

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Mulch Producer NEWS

Palo Alto Takes Another Step Toward Organic Waste Recycling


alo Alto, CA–According to, a controversial issue, Measure E, was resolved in the November election as 64.4% of voters approved passage of a bill to set aside 10 of Byxbee Park’s 126 acres for a composting facility. Measure E sets aside a site for building a facility capable of processing yard waste, food scraps and sewage sludge from the Regional Water Quality Control Plant. The city council will determine the kind of recycling project but must do so within 10 years, or the site is rolled back into Byxbee Park unless voters elect again to rededicate it. The argument was that building a composting center to handle these three waste streams could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 13 tons a year, though opponents pointed to a study by a Palo Alto task force that the savings would be minimal. They also believe that any facility could cost up to $169 million over 20 years, while current policy of sending yard waste to Sunnyvale and food scraps to San Jose is more cost effective. Those who favored the measure claimed the city could save $18 million over the same time frame. And a third controversy was whether to use parkland for such a purpose, with supporters saying that the site, and indeed the entire park, is part of a shuttered city landfill beside a water quality control plant. The rest of the park is being transformed into a regional park. Opponents say they will continue to fight and that when voters see the costs of building an anaerobic digester, they will vote against any new measure.

Charlotte Airport Considering Worms as Part of Waste Recycling


harlotte, NC–According to, the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport in North Carolina is planning to use worms for composting at its new $1.1 million recycling center. The composting system, which is expected to open in late winter, will use worms to process an expected ton of trash daily generated by travelers through the airport. The airport generates a great deal of garbage and spends a large amount on collection, haulage and disposal, say officials there. The new composting system will be built to handle up to two tons daily to allow for airport expansion, officials said. Compost materials include food scraps, meat, bones, paper waste, bathroom towels and plant waste, fed into a 1,600-sf pre-composter with odor controls. Then come the worms, 300 pounds for $6,000 in 8,000 sf. This “continuous flow vermicomposting system” will leave castings, which will be harvested from the bottom of the worm composter as the worms travel upward to new food supplies. The worm waste can then be used as fertilizer on the airport’s 6,000 acres, with the rest packaged and sold. It is hoped that the recycling center will save the airport about $1 million in waste disposal costs, paying for itself in five years. Money to build and operate the recycling center comes from the airport’s operating budget. The center will also sort aluminum, plastics and paper and sell them to recyclers, under a contract with Go Green.

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Pennsylvania Gives Grants for Sewer and Composting Projects


erks County, PA–More than $1 million in loans from state funds and the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority for water infrastructure projects was granted to the Berks County Conservation District, reports It received a $764,980 loan to reduce nutrient runoff into a stream in Caernarvon Township, including monies for a composting facility, a manure solids separation system and a 1.7 million-gallon lagoon and cover. Another $300,514 loan was made to build a manure storage tank and stream buffer. The area is in the Conestoga River Watershed, which is part of the greater Chesapeake Bay Watershed, and so a vital part of protecting national waterways. A $631,849 loan and a $1,095,351 grant were also made to Richmond Township to build a sewage treatment system to replace contaminating septic systems that flow into streams that feed Lake Ontelaunee, Reading’s drinking water supply. State Sen. Judy Schwank, a Ruscombmanor Township Democrat, helped get the money through the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority, supporting a $500,000 grant already given to the project. The funding for these loans and grants is made up of a combination of state funds approved by voter referendums, federal grants from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority and other PennVest funds.

Missouri Sets the Standard in Food Waste Recycling Program


olumbia, MO– reports that Bradford Research and Education Center at Missouri University has almost completed a new program for alternative waste management. Food waste from Campus Dining Services is collected and taken to Bradford Research Center. There it is mixed with animal manure and bedding to balance nitrogen and carbon requirements and then composted to create an optimum soil mixture for growing produce. The composting facility has been under construction since July, said Tim Reinbott, the superintendent of MU’s Bradford Research Farm, and it should go online before the end of the year. The facility is 2,400 sf and uses air to speed up the process, helping generate heat needed to kill bacteria. This method will only take a month to make compost, vs. a half year for the pile method. Reinbott came up with the plan, and has been working on it for two years, but funding was needed to complete the composting facility. In spring 2010, MU received a $35,000 grant from the Mid-Missouri Solid Waste Management District for the construction, with Campus Dining Services adding another $35,000 a few months later. The campus dining services are in charge of food waste collection, pickup and transport. The compost will be used to grow vegetables at the farm that will eventually be sold back to MU for its dining program. Biodiesel produced at the center using the kitchen’s waste cooking oil will be used to power the mechanical equipment used for vegetable growing as well as transportation back to Campus Dining Services. Reinbott believes that this is the first time a university has created a project that completes the entire food cycle. This is also a good research opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students Studies have shown that the system can capture multiple tons of waste. Dining Services now pays for waste to be taken to a landfill, so this is expected to save the college a great deal and to offset the cost of the facility in about three years.

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Akron’s Food Waste Recycling Program Successful After First Year


kron, OH–Summit County is getting behind recycling food waste with a variety of programs that support the effort, reports At the Akron Zoo, leftover bones and half-eaten fish ignored by the animals are collected, as is animal manure mixed with straw and sawdust. Summit County’s recycling program for leftover food and other organic waste is now a year old. The Summit-Akron Solid Waste Management Authority used $97,300 from its own funds, the only such program in the state. Food and organic wastes from 19 county sites are collected and recycled by Rosby Resource Recycling in Brooklyn Heights. This is expected to earn the company up to $75,000. The material is composted in windrows into a peat moss-like soil additive to be sold by the bag next year. Rosby Resource Recycling handles 30 to 40 tons of food wastes a day, most of this from 110 food-waste customers in the Cleveland area. Waste comes in in compostable synthetic bags, placed into windrows, with some yard waste added, and then shredded. It takes 45 to 60 days to compost at 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Piles are turned every three to five days, screened twice in the processing and cured for at least 45 days. So far, the program has recycled more than 234 tons of food and other organic wastes.

OSU Researchers See Hazards in Biomass Burning


hite City, OR–According to, Oregon State University researchers have spent the last four years studying the effects of burning wood waste for energy, and they now believe the practice may have a negative impact on carbon footprint rather than being a positive use of renewable wood-based materials to produce needed energy. White City-based Biomass One, a 30 megawatt, wood waste fired cogeneration plant which annually recovers 355,000 tons of wood waste, recovers wood from six county landfills in Southern Oregon and Northern California and sells electricity generated to Pacific Power for distribution to their customers in the Rogue Valley as part of the bio energy industry. The OSU researchers found that older trees store more carbon, so more carbon is released upon burning. Managing forests to harvest biomass energy, they say, could cause a 14% jump in carbon emissions. Instead, the current practice is to manage forests for thinning and to protect old growth trees. But Biomass One says it only uses scrap wood and byproduct to convert to energy. The researchers studied projected impacts of biomass burning on 19 regions in the West Coast, and that different areas are managed to have varying impacts from harvesting regulations. Thus, policy makers must better determine forest regulation.

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17–20 January 2012 Renaissance Austin Hotel Austin, TX

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USCC 20th Annual Conference & Tradeshow The Soil & Water Connection

Join us for the largest conference & exhibition in North America for the composting, wood waste & organics recycling industry. 8 Training Courses, more than 60 Educational & Technical Presentations, 100+ Exhibitors, Facility Tours & “Live” Equipment Demonstrations from 20+ Manufacturers PRE-CONFERENCE TRAINING COURSES, WORKSHOPS & TOUR Tuesday, January 17 Learn from the Experts! USCC Foundations of Composting p Compost Use in Agriculture, Horticulture & Landscaping p Aerated Static Pile Composting: Applications and Advancements p Management of Odor Issues at Compost Facilities p Protecting Workers: Job Hazard Analysis for Composting Facilities p When Bad Things Happen at Your Composting Facility—Imagining What Can Go Wrong & How You Can Recover p Home Compost Programming & Promotion p Zero Waste Program Development & Implementation Bus Tour of 3 Area Composting Facilities: Lanier High School, who have installed an XACT in-Vessel BioReactor & Vermicomposting System p City of Austin Hornsby Bend Biosolids Composting Facility, producer of Dillo Dirt p Texas Disposal Systems Materials Recovery Facility, Composting Facility & Exotic Game Ranch To review new offerings, visit the USCC website

CONFERENCE SESSION TOPICS Wednesday, January 18–Thursday, January 19 Welcome from Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell Keynote from Lee Matecko, Whole Foods Market’s Global VicePresident for Store Development Experts from around the globe can be found speaking on: Future of the Industry p Policy Developments Affecting Organics Recycling p Compost Use for Environmental Improvements p Improved Water Sanitation and Irrigation through Use of Compost p Composting Education and Educating with Compost p Anaerobic Digestion p Integrating Anaerobic Digestion with Composting p Odor Control p Air Quality Impacts p Diverting Organics: Best Practices and Expanding Options p Compost Facility Management p Composting Technologies p Options for On-site and Smaller Scale Systems p Risk Reduction and Worker Protection at Compost

18 Soil & Mulch Producer News 

November / December 2011

Facilities p Compost Utilization in Crops and Landscapes p International Development: Spotlight on Nigeria p Marketing Programs: Achievements and Advances p Compost Market Developments p Tools of the Trade Plus: Second Annual Compostable Plastics Symposium. Last year’s Compostable Plastics Symposium in Santa Clara inspired the development of a National Compostable Plastics Task Force with 5 separate working groups that are actively working in the areas of: Compostability Standards, Labeling and Education, Legislation and Enforcement, Customer Education & Operational Impacts. This year you will have another opportunity to learn the basics of these promising yet controversial products as well as discussing & participating in the progress the working groups are making. LIVE EQUIPMENT DEMONSTRATIONS Friday, January 20

Register Today! Go to or call the USCC at 631.737.4931 Exhibitor information, sponsorship opportunities, conference registration forms, conference highlights and workshop agendas are available at the USCC website or you can call the number above.

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No other conference brings together some of the newest equipment in the industry and lets you see them run! This year’s “live” demonstrations will take place at Texas Disposal System, where we will showcase over 20 pieces of equipment, including grinders, turners, screeners, and more! In addition to the demonstrations, you will be treated to a tour of their Exotic Game Ranch, including an African White Rhinoceros, giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, impalas and hundreds of other African, Asian, European, Middle Eastern, and American animal species! There is no other compost facility like this in the world!

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NETWORKING & OTHER OPPORTUNITIES Wednesday, January 18–Friday, January 20


Meet with Equipment Vendors and Service Providers at the Largest Industry Tradeshow in North America p Exhibitor’s Reception p Annual Awards Luncheon p Zero Waste Reception sponsored by the Biodegradable Products Institute p Annual USCC Members Meeting p USCC/SWANA Certification Exam for Manager of Compost Programs p CEU’s for Texas Licensed Facility Operators, SWANA & ASLA

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Montreal Creating New System of Garbage Collection Involving Composting


ontreal, Quebec–This city is revamping its garbage collection strategies piece by piece, with municipal authorities getting closer to having compost collections across the entire island, reports Four compost facilities would turn green waste from across the island into compost or biogas. The province hopes to move from 810 kg of garbage per person per year to 700 kg by 2015. Because an estimated 44% of the garbage can be composted, the province has banned organic waste and food waste from landfills by 2020. Across the province, over 100 municipalities and counties already collect food waste for compost with 9% of households participating to fill about 40 compost-treatment sites in Quebec. In Montreal, the cities of Côte St. Luc, Westmount, Dorval and Pointe Claire already collect kitchen scraps, and some parts of the Rosemont-Petite Patrie and Plateau Mont Royal boroughs have collections. Almost all municipalities collect yard waste, leaves and Christmas trees. This garbage has been taken off-island. But now the city wants to provide four sites for building compost-treatment centers, with biogas in Montreal East and LaSalle, and composting centers in St. Michel and Dorval to handle organic waste from across the island. City, provincial and national monies included a total of $215 million to build the composting centers. Construction of the new composting centers would be staggered. Compost collection would be in place for all buildings on the island by 2014. Montreal also wants a garbage-sorting center for a pilot project to separate organic waste and recyclables from household garbage. A pilot project at Montreal East site will examine household waste post-resident sorting to see if organic or recyclable materials can still be recovered, further reducing landfill use. This method is used in Europe, but it would be a first for North America.


Mulch Producer NEWS

Canadian Scientist Sees Economic Future in Ethanol from Wood Waste


ancouver, BC–University of British Columbia PhD candidate Jamie Stephen has published a study in Biofuels Bioproducts & Biorefining that examines whether ethanol fuel made from wood could become a growth industry for the province. According to Stephen’s study, large scale production of wood-based ethanol creates less greenhouse gas and requires less water than does corn-based fuel. He sees wood waste, corn stover and wheat straw as raw material for the creation of ethanol. The United State’s 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act requires that 31 billion gallons of ethanol be added to the supply of gasoline each year by 2022, while Canadian law states that gasoline must include five percent renewable fuel content. Ethanol production from corn is problematic as it cuts into corn’s use as food and feedstock. “Commercial production of wood-based ethanol requires government support to be economically viable,” said Stephen. “There has been a lot of investment in the research and development of cellulosic ethanol, especially in the United States and Canada. Huge advancements have been made to reduce the cost of production but there is still a long way to go before the volumes produced by the corn ethanol industry are attainable.”

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Info Request #164 November / December 2011   Soil & Mulch Producer News 19



Mulch Producer NEWS

Vecoplan Names Chocholko North American Wood, Biomass & Biofuels Sales Manager


uri Chocholko has joined Vecoplan, LLC as their North American Wood, Biomass & Biofuels Sales Manager. Chocholko will be responsible for overseeing the continued growth and strategic development of Vecoplan’s existing markets for machinery, equipment and systems in the wood, biomass & biofuels industries throughout the U.S. and Canada. Vecoplan is a worldwide leader in industrial technologies, including shredding, conveying, screening, separating, and dosing as well as complete feedstock preparation systems for the alternative fuels sector. In addition to a BTEC Higher National Diploma in Mechanical & Production Engineering from Leeds Metropolitan University UK, Chocholko brings 19 years of industrial wood capital equipment sales, service and management experience to his new position.

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ttumwa, IA–A Blairsburg company, Chamness Technology, Inc., had to pay $30,000 for discharging stormwater last summer from three retention basins with a total capacity of 8.1 million gallons at a solid waste composting facility it owns and operates near Eddyville, reports The facility has a 16-acre asphalt pad for processing and active composting of food processing by-products, pre- and postconsumer food scraps, outdated biodegradable agricultural products, industrial bio-solids and biotechnology by-products, non-recyclable paper and cardboard, manure and food processing waste. In 2008, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources had issued an administrative order against Chamness, partially due to illegal discharges from its retention basins. In 2010, the DNR issued a second administrative order against Chamness, also partially due to illegal discharges from the retention basins, mandating a certain amount of freeboard to prevent discharge. Both forced Chamness to prevent further discharges and told the company to make an agreement with a wastewater treatment facility to accept its wastewater if overflow was imminent. However, in two months in summer 2010, there were additional discharges. Chamness admitted the discharges and said the basin overflows happened due to unanticipated rainfall and that it now co-owns 422 acres of land to enable land application of water. The new consent decree resolves all violations for discharge in 2010 except for the release of retention pond wastewater from an irrigation hose that fall, which the Iowa DNR has referred to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

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Mulch Producer NEWS

Boralax Sells US Biomass Plants to Invest in Wind and Hydro


ontreal Quebec–Boralex Inc. is pursuing new alternative energy opportunities after selling its 186 megawatt Maine wood-residue power stations to ReEnergy Holdings LLC for $93 million, in response to “difficult business conditions” in the U.S. thermal power market, reports Boralex Inc. is expecting an after-tax gain of about $81 million from the sale. It will use the money to invest in other clean power projects in North America and Europe, with deals on tap for ready-to-build projects in Ontario, Quebec and France. The sale would mean about $400 million for new wind projects equal to 165 megawatts of power; the goal is 1,000 megawatt installed capacity by the end of 2015. The firm is keeping Senneterre and Dolbeau. The sale puts the value of the plants at about $435,000 per megawatt, which is toward the lower end of the scale, indicating a loss of interest in biomass. The move is seen as repositioning for the company, according to president and CEO Patrick Lemaire. After the move, its installed capacity will be 82% from the wind and hydro sectors, compared to its pre-sale 55% yearly, with half its energy coming from wind, the largest sector. Biomass decreases from 38% to a 13%. Long-term contracts are now favored, offering more predictable cash flow. “We expect to redeploy this capital relatively quickly and to take advantage of the many attractive opportunities available today in Canada and Europe,” Lemaire said. The sale is slated to close by the end of the year and requires U.S. approval. No layoffs are planned among employees at Boralex headquarters. “We believe relatively low power and REC prices in New England likely had a negative impact on the value of the sale,” said Lemaire. Boralex specializes in renewable energy, with an installed capacity of more than 700 megawatta in Canada, the northeastern United States and France.

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Info Request #105 November / December 2011   Soil & Mulch Producer News 21



Mulch Producer NEWS

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a new product that will extend the color in mulch for up to two years. Testing has also produced a colorant that can last as long as four years, he says. Colorant technology is just one of the things on which Mulch Manufacturing is working. Value-added products — mulch incorporating various attributes such as fire suppression — will play a key role in the future of the company, he predicts. “There are various kinds of attributes we’re looking at to add value and functionality to the mulches,” he says. “The major portion of our future is in value-added products.” In addition to its plants in Ohio and Florida, Mulch Manufacturing opened a processing plant in West Branch, Mich., in the fall of 2008. The plant was designed to meet growing sales volume in the state as well as reduce the cost of getting materials to customers. The 30-acre site, which includes a 6,000-square-foot production building, was designed “so that we could take advantage of local raw materials and greatly reduce the cost of transportation to the customer,” Spencer says. The company also maintains a facility in Madison, Fla., and another in Fargo, Ga., the latter a small facility to process all bark cypress and pine needle mulch. It also in 2009 purchased the bankrupt Smurfit-Stone sawmill in Homerville, Ga. Mulch Manufacturing had previously purchased wood fiber byproducts from the sawmill for its mulch production facility in Florida. Spencer said the loss of that material could have resulted in “considerable damage to the ability of Mulch Manufacturing to procure sufficient raw materials to address the developed market.” Today, Mulch Manufacturing continues to operate the sawmill and sales volume there has more than doubled. The operation of the mill has resulted in what Spencer describes as “considerable leverage in the ability to obtain cypress logs and produce both lumber and mulch products at a considerable savings and increased profitability.” Spencer remains optimistic about the future of the company. “The products and capabilities are much in demand from our customer base and our competitive strength continues to grow,” he says. The market is continuing to grow at about 5 percent a year “with no reason to believe that this growth will slow in the foreseeable future,” he says. “Increased efficiencies and new product offerings, which have higher margins, will improve our margins and strength in the market.” Cover photo courtesy of Mulch Manufacturing.

Call Billy Holmes 614-586-1780 office 614-595-7933 cell

November / December 2011

akeland, FL–The popular Publix Super Markets Inc. chain, based in Lakeland, FL, and Houston-based Waste Management, have cooperated on an Organics Recycling Facility in Okeechobee to process food waste from Publix stores into organic compost products, reports The eight-acre facility, which will collect organic matter such as produce, bakery and floral items from 40 Publix stores in Miami-Dade County and two Publix GreenWise Markets in Palm Beach County, is sited next to a Waste Management landfill. Other stores in Miami-Dade and Broward counties will be added soon, and many other Publix locations are being looked at. The Okeechobee facility can take in up to 30,000 tons per year, half food waste and half yard waste. The waste will be processed into organic lawn and garden products by Cleveland, Ohio-based Garick LLC, a subsidiary of Waste Management. Waste Management officials said the facility, which uses a forced aeration system with computer controls to regulate airflow and air treatment to process pre-consumer food waste, is the first dedicated organics composting site in South Florida. It is the kick off to a company expansion to expand organics recycling in the state and nation.

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Info Request #170 November / December 2011   Soil & Mulch Producer News 23

6075 Hopkins Road • Mentor, OH 44060 Ph: 440-257-6453 • Fax: 440-257-6459 Email: VOL. V NO. 6

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Inside This Issue Ex-Test Pilot Has Mulch Firm Flying High PAGE 1 Transportation Costs Squeezing Organic Material Producers PAGE 4 MGM Resorts Recognized with National Honors for Food Recycling Program PAGE 9 Study Says Forest Waste Recycling Could Add to Carbon Problem PAGE 12 Charlotte Airport Considering Worms as Part of Waste Recycling PAGE 14 Canadian Scientist Sees Economic Future in Ethanol from Wood Waste PAGE 19

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Soil & Mulch Producer News Nov/Dec 2011  

Nov/Dec 2011 issue of Soil & Mulch Producer News

Soil & Mulch Producer News Nov/Dec 2011  

Nov/Dec 2011 issue of Soil & Mulch Producer News