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Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by JTS Landscaping lawn, Dec 25, 2006.
wondering if anyone takes there clippings and makes compost and sells it. thought about trying this.
The place I dump makes compost out of them.
Our local landfill composts all the clippings and then sells it. I used to have a real small "compost pile" in the yard here, when we had a garden. It was only grass from our lawn though. I dunno, I guess for some composting might be profitable if they had a market for it, and were set up to do it. Another thing that might work is find a farmer/rancher to buy the clippings for cattle feed, or just take them for free. I am gonna talk to a couple people next spring about taking my clippings for feed. Cows LOVE grass clippings, from what I can tell.
Several years ago, I hauled leaf cleanup home and ran the leaves through a shredder. Somebody had given me a shredder, and I decided to take a different approach. I am small, but still had been hauling about 35 trailer loads (5X10X3) of leaves to the dump. Many people suggested I could sell the compost the next Spring. My wife wanted some shredded leaves, and I thought I could save some money in dump fees. However, the time factor was more than I expected.
At the end of the season, I had a pile of about 25 cu yds of shredded leaves. It settled a bit over the Winter, and I placed an ad in the Spring. I quickly learned I could not GIVE them away! I had one man pick up 5-6 wheelbarrow loads, but that was all I could GIVE away. We eventually used them all for our own beds on our property, so all was not lost.
In a season previous to the leaf project, I saved many, many cu yds of grass clippings. I ended up having to fork them out, now heavy, wet, slimy mess, etc, and hauled them to somebody's vegatable garden. Then I got my ear burned about the smell of the composting material.
My point is "selling out the compost" might sound like a good idea, but you better be sure you have a market before you start. If I had room, I think the ideal situation would be to shred (maybe not even this) the leaves during the Fall, then save the grass clippings the next year. And, mix the leaves with the grass clippings as they are being saved. Further, the debris would need to be turned often. In other words, it is a project!!!
I'd say that it's a good idea provided you have a couple of things.
1) Land which is not close to your or other people's houses. Like this you can get a LARGE pile going, which isn't hard to do.
2) Some form of heavy equipment. A backhoe would be ideal, but an excavator or track loader would also work. You don't have to own it, but you do need to be able to have ready access to one, so that you can turn the pile on a regular basis.
My local DPW makes compost and then gives it away for free. I can dump all my leaves, grass clippings, and horse manure down there. I dump probably around 5 to 7 yards a week and never a complaint. They have a pile that has to be atleast a 1/2 acre and about 20 feet tall. It is huge.
I have started composting simply to save the time and money of taking to to get recycled. it costs money to bring stuff there and of course to buy it back as compost the next year. I still charge a disposal fee for weeds and grass clippings but dump then in my back yard and use them each year in my own gardens and to add new landscaping features. I also plan on using some of it in gardens next year if I have extra. I only plan on using it for existing customers though. I don't think that it will make a large profit more of a way to save money.
I had a thought about trying to breed earthworms to sell to bait shops and it the process get the compost processed faster. but I haven't done enought research to see if that will work.
Anybody ever try a compost tumbler?
www.compostumbler.com has an 18 bushel tumbler for about $450...says that it can make soil in 14 days.
All you have to do it turn the crank a few times a day.
Wow, 18 Bushels... that is like 2 dumps from my Dixon. Get that just from my lawn here. Now for a LCO, a BIG version of that, like 10 or 20 times that, would work good I would think.
EDIT- I think it might be a "fun" project to buy one of those next Spring, see if it works. If not, return it in the 30 days or whatever they say on there. If it does work, maybe buy a couple units and make some compost. I am pretty sure I could sale enough of it around here to make it worth my time.
get yourself a big polly tank say around 500 gallons and cut an opening in the top and put a spout on the bottom. Cut some vent holes in the top of the tank so rain can get in. Now fill the tank with clippings and if you have a dog that leaves deposits on your lawn add it too. Let it sit for about a year then when its spring open the tank spout on the bottom and fill your tank sprayer. Sell it to your customers as liquid fertilizer for their lawn it works better than the granulated stuff. Then take the solid compost and add it to flower bed or gardens.