This call was from a tree service company that like most other tree service companies, has to make their debris disappear on a daily basis. This outfit had a mulch company picking up their wood for quite some time, but even they could not keep up with all the debris brought in that was chipped and ground daily.
For the past few years, as natural gas has gotten cheaper and cheaper, many boilers have switched over to natural gas. Think about it, put in a pipe and flick a lighter. No handling costs or heavy equipment. In addition to that, more and more paper mills have closed and the amount of wood available has skyrocketed. It was not even 10 years ago (when construction crashed), that mulch companies were all out of wood. If they needed more, they almost had to go to the local home improvement store and buy a stack of 2 x 4 lumber to grind.
So where does that leave places like tree companies, pallet recyclers and sawmills, just to name a few? Pretty much out of luck. Either start marketing it somehow themselves or dispose of it at a landfill that can take it.
Here are a few options:
- Mulch — There is always mulch, whether sized and delivered to a mulch company or making your own.
- Pellet mills — Many of these have closed also, but if one is nearby, see what size they need so you can supply them.
- Boilers — Many are buried with wood these days — offer it free to them and you may be able to send a few loads their way.
- Landfill cover — Many landfills are dirt poor and need cover material daily. Call your local facility.
- Bulking agent — Compost facilities may need material for wet sludges.
- Solidification — Environmental companies and landfills need material to solidify sludges and oils for disposal.
- Wood production facilities — Pressboard, OSB or plastic decking; any of those type facilities may be an option.
- Sawmills — Keep trees as long as possible if it can go to saw.
- Firewood — Hardwoods can be used and dumped for free.
The key is to try and find several options so you are not left out in the cold if you lose your outlet. Mulch doesn’t have to be sold for $20 a yard if you can get rid of 5 times the amount for $5. Your cost formula should be versus disposal at a Landfill or the like.
Setting up a grinding operation? I can help. Rent or subcontract a grinder until it becomes cost prohibitive. Search the AsktheGrinderguy.com website for articles on grinding and you will get more ideas. Good Luck.
Questions? Dave Whitelaw, The Grinderguy firstname.lastname@example.org