Reducing waste is a daunting challenge for many businesses trying to go green, but Loganbill Enterprises Inc. in Moniteau County has turned waste into a profit maker. For owners Rick and Joan Loganbill there is no such thing as waste. LEI makes cedar and pine bedding materials for poultry barns. Instead of paying someone to haul off the scraps, this husband-wife team creates marketable red, mocha, black, and golden mulch from it.
"It's like a closed loop," explains Joan, "It's complete recycling because we use a by-product of our shavings to create a new product for the customer."
In addition to internally recycling their own leftovers, the Loganbills use waste wood slabs and pulpwood from nearby saw mills. Moving one step further, the Loganbills have incorporated a compost production operation into their business. Compost adds valuable nutrients and organic matter to gardens and landscaping.
"Unfortunately," Joan observes, "we can't afford to buy back the mulch we sell to turkey farms because turkey manure is too expensive."
However, the Loganbills aren't giving up that easily. They have plans to buy horse manure for their compost operation so they will be able to provide not only the shavings and the mulch for farms, but the fertilizer too. The prospect excites Joan, who takes pride in the closed recycling loop that she and her husband's business has created.
Rick and Joan started their poultry barn shavings business in November 1996.
"The idea of the business started because we saw a need," says Joan. Rick was driving trucks and farming at the time. There were only two other suppliers of shavings when they started and Cargill was seeking a new supplier for its turkey barns.
The idea of need has fueled the expansion of the Loganbill's business. Their next venture is to compost food waste from Missouri correctional facilities and yard waste from nearby communities. The finished compost product is sold in bulk or bagged, can be blended with soil or applied for erosion control with the Loganbill's blower truck that applies mulch and compost up to 200 feet away.
The Loganbills started their business with a $10,000 loan to buy used wood shavers. Their initial success can be attributed to the distinctive brand they created for themselves — offering the value-added service of spreading the shavings they delivered to poultry barns, instead of just dumping them into a pile like their competitors did.
Their ingenuity also led them to take environmentally friendly steps toward starting their mulch and composting business. That operation not only brought in more business but qualified them to receive a $50,000 state grant for equipment from the Environmental Improvement and Energy Resources Authority. The company also received a grant from the Mid-Missouri Solid Waste Management District.
However, in the early years things didn't seem to pay off so easily for the Loganbills.
"The first year we worked outside ... 18 hours a day," says Joan. "We still work hard, but it pays off because my husband and I work together and our two sons work for us." The Loganbills also employ five other people.
In addition to enjoying time with her family, Joan notes the important services their business provides for the community.
"We have good prices. Our mulch is half the cost of the mulch from a nursery," she said. "I also hope people start to use our compost operation. Around here people burn their trash a lot, but now they have another option."
The Loganbills have every right to be proud. There is no other compost facility of this size or nature in central Missouri. They are helping their business, customers, community and state to become more environmentally friendly. For the Loganbills, it pays to go green.
Assistance for identifying these opportunities is available through the environmental assistance program of the Missouri Business Development Program Web site at www.missouribusiness.net/eac.
This story was featured in the May 2009 newsletter
- Leah Christian, Missouri Environmental Assistance Center