Volvo leaves nothing to waste


In Seattle, North America, a team of versatile Volvo machines is helping to recycle over 80,000 tons of waste.

The biggest mammal on earth is the blue whale, weighing in at 180 tons. Now imagine 445 of these. Well, that is the annual volume of solid waste – made up of recycled wood, land clearing debris and fish waste – that is being produced in Seattle, North America, alone. These 80,000 tons would ordinarily be burned or buried in landfills. But recycling company North Mason Fiber is converting this waste into 18 products including bark, topsoil and rich compost to be re-used on gardens, farms and landscapes throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Following in his father’s footsteps, Bob Dressel, runs the family business located on a 35 acre site close to Seattle, Washington. The company receives waste from nine regional garbage companies, local fish farms and four large US Navy facilities in the area. “We accept up to 600 tons of waste daily,” says Bob. “But at certain times of the year it’s not uncommon to hit 1,500 tons.”


North Mason Fiber is the only permitted facility on the Kitsap and Olympic Peninsulas to produce organic compost (free from undesirable chemicals and foreign debris) as certified by the Washington State Department of Agriculture. Under the label ‘Oly Mountain’, organic and fish compost is sold to a variety of companies.

Composting uses an advanced process with exact temperatures and strict aeration techniques, and takes months — or as long as three years in the case of the fish — to complete. “It’s like making wine: The longer it ages, the better it is,” says Bob.

Every load of waste accepted by the company is screened for garbage then put into piles where filter barriers made of wood waste cover the material to prevent odours, while computers monitor temperatures, dates and other critical factors.

Versatile waste handlers
To handle the large volume of waste material, North Mason Fiber needs a team of versatile construction machines. After 17 years of working with another heavy equipment manufacturer, Bob decided to try Volvo Construction Equipment and he hasn’t looked back. “I was very loyal to another heavy equipment manufacturer, but that company and their dealer seemed to lose focus,” says Bob. “I was discussing my equipment concerns with a contractor friend of mine one day and he said, ‘Bob, why don’t you give Volvo a try.’ Now, after four years of operating Volvos I wish I had done it sooner. Positive results in production levels and fuel savings were seen in the first week and operator comfort and safety is outstanding.”


Today, North Mason Fiber owns a pair of versatile Volvo L120E wheel loaders and a powerful 243 hp, Volvo L120F. In addition, they use their adaptable, Volvo EC460B LC crawler excavator in a variety of on-site applications and a Volvo EC290B FX tracked forestry carrier with hi-rise forestry cab to load stumps and wood waste into the company’s grinder named ‘big-blue’. “The Volvos are real all-rounder machines. Not only are they easy on fuel, every machine here ends up handling eight to ten different functions every day,” says Bob. “One hour they could be feeding one of the compost screens; the next, high stacking or turning compost; then cleaning up after a delivery; then over to the gravel side of the operation; then back to loading and sorting stumps… the applications are always changing.”

Bob is speaking from his office seat – a Volvo L120E. Bob is rarely found in his actual ‘office’ as he prefers to be out on site. Bob is very sincere about his current manoeuvrable office. “This loader has over 10,000 hours and the only thing other than regular maintenance that we’ve had to do is replace the windshield wiper blade. This is the kind of uptime we need.”

But as with any piece of equipment, it is only as good as the support it receives from the manufacturer and their dealer group. Bob is very genuine in his praise of Volvo and its local dealer, Clyde West Inc., based in Kent, Washington. “I can’t say enough good things about the level of service we have received. They have always got just the right machine for us and if we need them, and that’s not often, they are there for us.”

North Mason Fiber’s accountant, Chris Reanier, backs up why Volvo was a good choice for the company. “Since we switched to Volvo, there have been obvious savings in fuel and maintenance costs and downtime is a thing of the past. Volvo has made a positive influence on the company’s bottom line – and its environmental footprint too.”



May, 2011

For more information about North Mason Fiber visit their website at:

Picture 1: A Volvo EC460B excavator and L120F wheel loader get to work on North Mason Fiber’s site.
Picture 2: A Volvo EC460B excavator moves the freshly made organic compost.
Picture 3: Owner Bob Dressel sits in his favorite office – the cab of a Volvo L120E.
Picture 4: Volvo's versatile wheel loaders are used for a range of applications on site.

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Bill Law
Director, External Communications
Volvo Construction Equipment
Tel: int + 32 478 92 43 26

Brian O’Sullivan
Tel: int +44 77 333 50307