Composting Case Study

Kurtz Bros Tackles Yard Waste Contamination

Company tests new compostable mesh leaf bags.

Mike Ferrara

Kurtz Bros, Inc. (Columbus, OH) supplies both consumers and landscape contractors with high-quality mulch, compost, soil amendments and topsoil. The company operates several organic recycling facilities throughout the state of Ohio spanning from Columbus (the state’s largest organic recycling facility) to Cleveland. Its local yard waste facilities accept everything from leaves and grass clippings to wood waste and food scraps.

The firm is also a licensed blender of soil media used in green roof systems. Special soil blends are provided for both intensive and extensive rooftop growing systems. Kurtz Bros. produces structural soils for urban planting and bio-retention soils used to filter storm water pollutants. Kurtz Bros. is also developing a food scrap diversion business that will divert organic waste to biogas for energy production.

The Challenge

As a result, Kurtz Bros. recently began testing a newly introduced compostable mesh leaf bag collection system designed and commercialized by another Columbus-based company called PD Worx. The new bag solves many of the problems associated with paper yard waste bags specified by most communities in North America. Jeff Moore of Kurtz Bros. says, “For us at the receiving end, we’re of course concerned about contamination. Foreign objects degrade the quality, and ultimately the price we can charge for our materials. Traditional paper lawn bags make it difficult to see contaminants.”

Because of this, Kurtz Bros. employs yard waste inspectors at every drop off point to inspect the lawn waste and check for any contamination. “With the new mesh bags, we can better see the contaminants before they cause problems in the mulch manufacturing process,” says Moore.

The Solution

The new bag and leaf collection system called dsolv™ is the brainchild of Paul Kolada, CEO of PD Worx, LLC. The company recently unveiled its new product at WasteCon 2010 and at the 2010 National Retail Hardware Show. PD Worx is a subsidiary of Priority Designs Inc, a Columbus, OH-based industrial design firm, which consults with Scotts Miracle Gro, Lowe’s, Rubbermaid, and other Fortune 100 companies. “While better than a plastic leaf bag, the kraft paper bag is still not the best solution for yard waste. The 30-gallon paper leaf bags can be tricky to open, hard to fill, inconvenient to drag to the curb and rip easily,” says Kolada.

Certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute according to ASTM D6400, dsolv bag is truly biodegradable and compostable. The new dsolv™ bags are made from a bio-resin. Corn and other plants are processed to form a starch compound that is used to create the bags. The resin is 100 percent compostable, yet the bag offers strength and a long shelf life. The new bags do not degrade when exposed to rain, oxygen and sunlight. Only when they are placed in a composting environment, do the bags begin to biodegrade. Under ideal composting conditions, the bag breaks down in about six months.

The dsolv™ system allows homeowners to more quickly and easily fill each of the bags with up to 60 pounds of yard waste. Homeowners simply make a knot on the top of the mesh bag and then use a fist-sized ergonomic carrying handle to transport the bag curbside for pickup. For haulers and compost facilities, the dsolv™ bag is easily recognizable and clearly marked as compostable. Unlike paper yard waste bags, it will not tear if it becomes wet and is easier to load into the garbage truck. Best of all, the mesh bag construction enables easier identification of unwanted contaminants.

Refuse collectors like us love dsolv™ bags because they can see inside them,” says Moore. “This means we know for certain that the bag contains lawn waste—and nothing unsafe or non-compostable. Furthermore, each dsolv™ bag is clearly labeled so our collectors know that the bag itself is compostable. This speeds up our waste handling process tremendously and saves us both time and money.”

Moore estimates the bags will help catch 50 percent of the contaminants that the company currently receives in-house by allowing the haulers and waste inspectors to easily check the bags. Additionally, Moore notes that the bags pose no problems to his chipping and grinding equipment based on the company’s initial test.

Moving Forward

We are thrilled that Kurtz Bros. has endorsed our new bags,” says Kolada. “They fit perfectly into the company’s ‘We make good earth better slogan. Using these bags is the right thing to do. Consumers can make an appropriate choice for the environment, and at the same time take advantage of a completely functional, easy-to-use, no compromise leaf collection system. As municipalities face increasing budget challenges, we hope they will see our bags as a part of a solution to their composting/recycling challenges,” says Kolada.

Moore agrees, “I encourage my colleagues in the recycling industry to consider endorsing dsolv bags as part of their efforts to motivate homeowners and businesses to recycle in a responsible manner.”

For more information about the dsolv™ leaf collection system, call (877) 787-4063 or visit

For more information about PD Worx, call (614) 337-9979 or visit

For more information on Kurtz Bros., call (614) 43MULCH or visit