South Carolina-based recycling firm Green Energy Biofuel recently acquired ReSoil, a composting facility in Kershaw County, one of the latest moves the growing company has made in over a decade to increase its services and open new opportunities for industrial processors near and far. GEB is making significant investments in its new composting business to help large waste generators in the region find a landfill-free option for disposal of difficult organic waste to meet regulatory and corporate demands as well as evolving consumer expectations.
“We’ve invested $160,000 in ReSoil before we even closed on the purchase—and we’re not done,” says BioJoe Renwick, GEB co-founder. “In 12 months, we’ll have put nearly $2 million into the composting business.” GEB has spent four months in site preparation, making ReSoil a more efficient, resourceful facility to serve its existing customers and potential clients. Over a half-million pounds of recycled concrete, rock and grading clay sand was brought on site to modify the yard for operational improvements. GEB also poured over 100 yards of concrete, created eight bulk storage bays and a rainwater-capture system to hydrate the almost 800 cubic yards of compost it can produce every month. “This was a big project,” Renwick says.
The facility’s process flow has been modified to optimize efficiency. “We haven’t changed the composting process, just how the business is run and how compost moves through the facility to create efficiency,” Renwick explains.
The site features six 80-yard bays, each with a forced-air delivery system to pump fresh air into the compost, which increases the temperature and rate of decomposition. The parameters are maintained by electrical controllers and timers to achieve and maintain temperatures required for the process. Temperature is monitored regularly for it to be high enough to kill pathogens but low enough to not spontaneously combust.
Composting may seem like a simple process to the layman, but obtaining and maintaining permits takes research, training and sophistication. “We have a master composter who runs our site,” Renwick says. ReSoil’s compost is “Certified SC,” part of the Certified South Carolina Program, and has the U.S. Composting Council’s Seal of Testing Assurance (STA).
When organic waste is received, it is mixed with wood chips, which serve as a bulking agent, from one of two sources. Pure oak chips come from Pro Pallet South, a refurbished pallet manufacturer in Winnsboro, whose broken pallets are chipped and find new life in GEB’s engineered soil. Also, once a year the Kershaw County landfill grinds yard debris from the surrounding area, where GEB sources composting chips as well. In addition, clay sand from Kershaw Mining next door and vermiculite from Woodruff-based Palmetto Vermiculite are added in various recipe proportions to make five different engineered soils. Due to this local sourcing of material, ReSoil product has achieved the Certified SC label. The whole process—from waste in to screened, engineered soil out—takes 45 days.