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.”