It wasn’t too long ago that Patrick and Rebecca Geraty made the move from full time landscaping contractors to that of a full time compost producer. That was in 1992. Since then, St. Louis Composting has grown from a single site operation to the St. Louis Metropolitan area’s largest composting company with six facilities that this year, will process upwards of 1 million cubic yards of green material. More importantly, Patrick has taken recycling seriously to the point that he serves on the Board of Directors of the US Composting Council®, one of the foremost authorities in the world of recycling.
According to Dave Gavlick, Operations Manager for St. Louis Composting, the Geratys saw the need for responsible wood waste recycling in the early 1990s when state regulations were implemented restricting the dumping of yard waste and green waste materials into the local municipal landfills. As landscapers, they were constantly in need of a destination for their wood waste materials. They also had an ongoing need for compost and mulch products to help amend the soil and beautify the landscape. With the advent of the new regulations, it didn’t take long for the Geratys to start their own recycling facility, and within a short time, it became their primary business.
Gavlick said initially, the business began with one grinder, but today, because the company has six locations within a 40-mile radius of St. Louis, the company now operates a Komptech Crambo, twin-shaft, low speed shredder, four Morbark 6600 Horizontal Grinders, and two Morbark 1300 Tub grinders. These, combined with a number of screening units including the company’s new Komptech Multistar XXL star screener, gives St. Louis Composting an edge when it comes to producing large volumes of high quality composts and mulch products.
Gavlick said that the various portable units are moved from facility to facility, as there is need at each location. He noted the 26-acre, Valley Park, MO facility serves as the company’s home base. From there, a considerable volume of material is sold in bulk on a retail and wholesale basis. Products include STA-certified compost, topsoil and soil blends and a variety of natural and colored mulches.
Customers in the Metro East area are served by a 52-acre composting facility located just west of Belleville, IL, while a third facility is located on four acres in Maryland Heights, MO. That site serves as a transfer station for neighborhoods in North and West St. Louis County. There, they accept yard waste including trees, limbs and brush.
St. Louis Composting also operates a processing center and retail outlet on a 10-acre site in the City of St. Louis, off Hall Street in what is called the Baden neighborhood. Their fifth location, a 19-acre site, is located in North St. Louis County sits and their sixth location, added in 2014, is located in Pacific, MO. That operation is also a 26-acre composting facility.
Gavlick said that because they are certified to receive organic waste in addition to yard waste, they are able to formulate organic composted materials and soils that meet a variety of needs for their customers. From individual gardeners and landscapers to industrial customers like Scotts and Filtrexx®, St. Louis Composting is equipped to supply products in bulk for everyone.
One of the most profitable additions to the company’s equipment fleet has been the recent acquisition of their second Komptech Multistar XXL star screener. “We were looking for a way to increase production,” said Gavlick. “That is when we looked to Brad McAlister of Midwest Re-Con, our Komptech dealer. Earlier this year, we took delivery of our second XXL. We have been extremely pleased since then.”
Gavlick explained that the XXL star screener is a high production piece of equipment that effectively replaced three trommel screens in their production fleet. “We are able to take that middle fraction from the XXL and use it for a number of products, especially the fill material for our Filtrexx® line of products,” he said. “Since we are distributors of Filtrexx products, that material is ideal. The overs go back for additional grinding and the unders are put back into the compost pile.”
A typical production layout has incoming material being ground in one of the horizontal grinders, with product passing under an Airlift Separator or Komptech Hurrikan for removing plastic and other unwanted light material. For mulch that is due to be colored, the mulch ground and screened with a BM&M screener, then processed in a Colorbiotics Sahara coloring system.
Gavlick said the company makes good use of its equipment not only by moving it from any of their own facilities to do grinding and screening, but also for custom work for contractors doing site prep work and jobs of that kind. “After the tornado in Joplin, MO a couple of years back, we did the wood waste recycling for the new Mercy Hospital that was built after the storm. We also move the equipment around to wherever it is needed at our own locations.”
With most of the grinding and coloring taking place at the Bellville, IL facility, material not only leaves that operation heading for delivery to customers, but it also is taken to retail facilities within the St. Louis Composting sites as well. “Since we have a fleet of 30 tractor trailer rigs that we use for pickup and delivery of material, we are able to move raw materials and product from one location to another wherever it is needed. We also are able to make customer deliveries with those trucks or for smaller loads, we have a fleet of seven tandem axle straight trucks as well. Those work better in tight places.”
“We are excited about the future of St. Louis Composting,” said Gavlick. “We continue to grow as a company (as demonstrated by the 2014 acquisition of the Pacific, MO location) as we serve more customers in the greater St. Louis area.” For more information on St. Louis Composting, visit their website at www.stlcompost.com.
Midwest Re-Con serves Komptech customers in six states
For the McAlister family, owners of McAlister Parts and Equipment, Inc. of Bayard, IA, the creation of sister company, Midwest Re-Con Recycling and Construction Equipment company in 2012 was the ideal way to support sales and service of Komptech equipment for a six state area surrounding and including Iowa. Since McAlister Parts and Equipment, a heavy equipment service and repair business, had already been actively servicing Komptech equipment on a regular basis, it became clear that being an exclusive Komptech dealer would benefit their customers and themselves as well.
“Brad Kiecker, our sales manager, joined our family business to create Midwest Re-Con as the Komptech dealership for Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri, Kansas and South Dakota,” said Brad McAlister, Service Manager and Sales Rep for Midwest. “We came on board with Komptech because they needed a reliable dealer in this part of the US and we have the experience and support staff for sales, service and repair of a full line of recycling equipment. McAlister Parts and Equipment, has been in business since 1968, so we have a history of serving customers in the area that we serve.”
McAlister said they began serving St. Louis Composting as Komptech dealers after St. Louis Composting had already acquired several pieces of Komptech equipment from Komptech, US, before a local dealership was established. “We worked with them on the acquisition of their Crambo low-speed shredder and they found that if they shredded the raw material before running it through their horizontal, high-speed grinders, it would save wear on the high-speed equipment, and they had fewer fines which saved them money on their mulch colorant as well.”
St. Louis Composting bought their first MultiStar XXL star screener before McAlisters had become dealers; however, in 2014 St. Louis Composting purchased their second XXL from Midwest Re-Con. “The XXL is the right machine for their operation because they can change their compost sizing with the touch of a button. They can go from screening 3/8” minus to 1” minus material in seconds, instead of having to shut down the unit and replace screens. They can stockpile different sized material with ease. This was an ideal switch from trommels for them. Production is increased with less labor. Keith Zeisset, their chief equipment operator, is able to do the work of at least two men with the addition of the Komptech XXL.”
McAlister said the XXL is a piece of equipment that can handle large volumes of material. That helps the producer save time and money. This machine is a prime example of the Grinder Guy’s slogan: “Screen more – grind less.” For more information about Midwest Re-Con Recycling & Construction Equipment, contact them at 712-651-2767 or visit their website at www.midwestrecon.com.