Waste Management Conservation Business Plan
Mid-Atlantic Recycling, LLC’s area of business will be to collect, recycle/compost, and market waste from municipality waste processing plants for use use as a consumer good. This recycled product will meet two critical needs:
- It will give municipalities a feasible and cost effective alternative to landfilling the waste, and
- It will help meet the growing demand for organic soil enhancers and fertilizers. The material that will be recycled is human waste sludge.
Our recycled waste will be targeted toward fertilizer manufacturers, nurseries, landscapers, farmers, government agencies, golf courses, and others. All of these potential customers will benefit from the compost’s numerous soil enhancing characteristics.
Additionally, we will offer a service to waste processing plants owned by municipalities. Currently these plants face several issues regarding the disposal of human waste sludge. Landfills are filling up and costs of disposal are rising. Also, due to recent legislation, as of 2008 many landfills will no longer be able to accept human waste sludge. Mid-Atlantic Recycling will solve this problem by accepting this waste at a nominal charge and recycling it into a useful product.
Mid-Atlantic Recycling is entering a niche market in that human waste sludge has not been recycled on any sizeable scale in West Virginia or the Mid-Atlantic region. This is a unique and viable concept that addresses the needs of various customers and reaches an untapped market with tremendous growth potential.
One of the most attractive aspects is that the business is projected to attain a strong cash position and achieve profitability in the first year of operation. Due to a large need for these products and services, and a lack of direct competition, our projection of quick profitability is attainable.
Our in-depth research pertaining to human waste’s positive soil enhancement characteristics and its many potential uses is well advanced. The concept has been tested on a small scale and the results, upon analysis, were found to be a high quality compost. Research will be an ongoing process for the company; one particular area of interest is the possibility of qualifying the product as a fertilizer. In this case, the profitability of the product would nearly double. Mid-Atlantic Recycling is working with the West Virginia University Cooperative Extension Service to investigate the feasibility of selling the material as fertilizer.
We already have an advance order for 500 tons, and one fertilizer manufacturer and a large landscaper have committed to purchasing 600 tons of our product annually. Additionally, various municipalities have expressed keen interest in paying us to accept their waste.
- Flush sales for the first twelve months of operations and growing each year thereafter.
- Establish the recycling facility in Monroe County, WV; to include six composting units in Year 1.
- Open additional facilities in Year 2 and Year 3 to serve other areas of the state and the Mid-Atlantic region.
- Continue to market Mid-Atlantic Recycling by contacting and soliciting business from additional municipalities and compost using customers.
Mid-Atlantic Recycling’s mission is threefold. Our first responsibility is to ensure the financial well being of the business. Second, is to provide municipalities with an economical, alternative for the disposal of human waste sludge. Third, is to provide a top quality, recycled material to the consumer so that they may benefit from compost’s many good properties and organic elements. In addition, we hope to build in the consumer a positive feeling about the feasibility of using recycled human sludge as a fertilizer.
Human waste sludge has long been a waste problem for municipalities which operate waste processing plants. In metropolitan areas that handle large amounts of waste, human sludge is generally disposed in volume at municipal landfills. Driven by state and federal mandates, recycling and composting of municipal solid waste has increased dramatically during the past decade. There are nearly ten thousand curbside recycling programs in America, and nearly 15,000 drop-off centers for recyclable material.
Mid-Atlantic Recycling’s business model presents an opportunity to recycle a landfill bound waste, save the landfill space, and give the consumer the opportunity to benefit from the many positive properties of the composted material.
Human waste sludge contains a high nutrient value which can be composted to produce a quality plant food and soil enhancer at far lower prices than chemical fertilizers currently on the market.
1.3 Keys to Success
The keys to success in our business are:
- Overcome perception issues that may exist with using compost made from human waste sludge.
- Establish and build relationships and trust with customers to help shield from future competition.
- Expand rapidly to control the market.
- Offer reasonable prices.
- Get investment.
The legal name of the company will be Mid-Atlantic Recycling, LLC. Mid-Atlantic Recycling will be formed as a Limited Liability Company in West Virginia. Due to its tax benefits, a LLC will be advantageous.
2.1 Company Ownership
Mid-Atlantic Recycling is owned by its founder and president, Oliver Pyne. Mr. Pyne will be an active participant in management decisions.
2.3 Company Locations and Facilities
Mid-Atlantic Recycling will operate in Monroe County, WV, near the community of Lindside, WV. The Lindside location is approximately 10 miles from Peterstown, WV. The recycling facilities will be located on a 58+ acre property owned by company president, Oliver Pyne; 5 acres will be set aside for the recycling facility set up and operation. This site is ideal as it provides access to local municipalities and to Interstates 77 and 81. Also there is room for expansion as the business grows.
Additionally, Mid-Atlantic Recycling’s business location is located in a federally designated “historically underutilized business zone” or HUBZone. As discussed under the Competitive Comparison section below, this designation gives Mid-Atlantic Recycling certain advantages in selling to the government.
As the business expands to additional counties in subsequent years, we will need to lease property on which to site our facilities.
2.3.1 Government Regulation
Because Mid-Atlantic Recycling recycles a waste product and incorporates it into an environmental product, the company is under the potential jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency. The recycling and sale of human waste may be regulated by federal or state authorities. Mid-Atlantic Recycling will obtain all required federal and state permits and licenses to operate its facilities.
Products and Services
Our products and services offer needed solutions to municipalities and the market for organic soil enhancement products. Mid-Atlantic Recycling will be the market leader as the first company in the region to collect, compost, and recycle human waste sludge for use as a fertilizer and a soil enhancer. Mid-Atlantic Recycling realizes that consumers today are more conscious of recycling and of their environment. Because of this trend, there is a growing trend among consumers to move away from traditional chemical based fertilizers more natural organic materials.
We will offer one major service and major product. Our major service will be to offer municipalities an alternative means for disposing of human waste sludges generated in waste treatment plants. Our major product will be recycled (composted) human waste sludge for use as a fertilizer.
A sample of our compost has been analyzed by the West Virginia University Agricultural Service Laboratory. A copy of their analysis is attached to this business plan; this analysis verifies the very high quality of the material we will produce. According to West Virginia University, this material may qualify as a fertilizer in which case the material’s value is much higher than if it is considered a compost.
3.1 Product and Service Description
Nationwide, many landfills are closing or exhausting their remaining capacity. However, due to environmental restrictions, zoning laws, and other regulatory and bureaucratic delays, very few new landfills are opening to offset the looming space crisis. Meanwhile municipal waste, including human waste sludge, continues to flow in greater volume. Handling their waste streams has become a major problem for most municipalities. With more waste created daily, landfills nationwide are rapidly facing a capacity crisis.
In West Virginia this situation has been made even more critical due to recent passage of legislation requiring that by 2008 only landfills lined with a very heavy duty liner will be able to accept human waste sludge. Thus, in the not too distant future, most landfills now accepting the sludge will no longer be able to accept it. Additionally, it will be very impractical, and cost prohibitive, to install the required liner in working landfills. Therefore, options for disposing of human waste sludge are about to become very, very limited, which means disposal will become much, much more costly.
Considering this environment, we will offer municipalities an extremely valuable service — an alternative means for disposal of their human waste sludge. Municipalities currently pay landfills a “tipping” fee to dispose of their waste. The tipping fee is typically $15 to $50 per ton; the average tipping fee in West Virginia is $32 per ton. As noted above, in the near future many landfills will stop receiving human waste sludge and prices are expected to increase dramatically due to simple supply and demand. Not only will tipping fees increase, but as municipalities have to go farther and farther afield to find accommodating landfills, transportation costs for the waste will also increase. We will help them solve this problem, and ultimately save them, and their tax payers, money. We will place skid boxes at their waste treatment plants and remove the sludge for them. The tipping fee, a fee for skid box rental, and a fee for picking up and returning the skid boxes will be paid to Mid-Atlantic Recycling by the municipalities. This will be done at a price competitive with or lower than what they are now paying.
Mid-Atlantic Recycling will receive the sludge and recycle it using an organic composter. This will be a 3-day recycling process. At the end of the three days, the human waste sludge will be converted to a compost material safe for use in agricultural applications. Potential customers include turf farms, fertilizer manufacturers, golf courses, nurseries, landscapers, Government agencies, and homeowners.
3.2 Competitive Comparison
The Mid-Atlantic Recycling business model adds great value through both our service and our product.
Our service, accepting human waste sludge from municipalities, partially relieves the burden on rapidly filling landfills, and provides an alternative disposal channel to municipalities facing a legislative deadline which threatens to cut off their traditional means of disposing of the waste.
As noted earlier, there is a trend in the market away from chemical fertilizers toward more natural organic soil enhancements. Our product, composted human sludge, responds to this market trend. Compost has many advantages over traditional fertilizer. Traditional chemical fertilizer sells for approximately $250 per ton while our compost will be priced at around $50-$100 per ton. Our compost is similar to fertilizers; however, it reacts differently from most fertilizers. Compost releases nutrients over a long period of time, on average two to three months. The chemical reaction in present fertilizers takes place immediately and usually lasts no longer than three to four weeks. After three to four weeks, the customer may have to buy more fertilizer, costing both time and money. On golf courses, when chemical fertilizer is applied, golf must cease for the day; however, when compost is applied, golf can continue uninterrupted. As demonstrated, compost has many advantages over traditional fertilizers.
Our human sludge compost also has distinct advantages over other types of composts as well. To be a viable, lucrative, growing business, we must be a reliable source of compost supply to our customers. To serve the market and grow in it availability of our product cannot be intermittent or “hit and miss.” We must be able to meet the demand every time within a reasonable delivery time. By the inherent nature of the business, human waste sludge will always be available for composting in large, dependable quantities, at one or a few locations, at a constant/stable quality and at a stable cost. Other composts cannot compete with this in that similar quantities are not available from so few locations which increases their labor and transportation costs related to collection. Additionally, if collection is from farms, they may use horse manure, poultry manure, cow manure, hog manure, etc. in varying quantities over time. This inherently will result in a product that constantly changes in content and quality. In fact customers view other composts as being of unpredictable availability and unpredictable quality. Mid-Atlantic Recycling’s compost will not have these deficiencies and will be viewed as the superior compost product.
In addition to the above, the following paragraphs describe federal small business programs that Mid-Atlantic Recycling intends to take advantage of. These programs are available to us due to our location and the status of our owner as a Native American (minority). Mid-Atlantic Recycling will leverage these programs to ensure entry to the federal market. This information was taken from federal government Internet sites.
The Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) program: Firms in this program have the opportunity to negotiate sole source contracts and participate in restricted competition limited to HUBZone firms. Also, HUBZone firms are allowed a ten percent price evaluation preference in full and open competition. In such cases, the price offered by a HUBZone firm will be determined lower than the price offered by a non-HUBZone firm as long as the HUBZone firm’s price is not more than 10% higher than the price offered by the otherwise lowest, responsive offeror. Companies can apply on-line at SBA’s website for expedited HUBZone program admission. According to research done by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, government entities are the largest single buyer of compost products.
Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB) program: This program offers several important incentives:
- Price evaluation adjustment: qualified SDBs receive a price evaluation adjustment of up to 10 percent on procurements where mandated by regulation. The price evaluation adjustment for SDBs bidding as primes became effective October 1, 1998. Regulations mandate this approach in competitive acquisitions over the simplified acquisition threshold (usually $100,000) where the SIC Code for the prime contract is authorized by U.S. Department of Commerce benchmarks. The price evaluation adjustment does not apply to 8(a) acquisitions and small business set-asides.
- Evaluation factor: qualified prime contractors can receive a credit when using SDBs as subcontractors. This evaluation factor for SDB participation became effective January 1, 1999. The incentive applies only to competitive negotiated acquisitions over $500,000, or $1,000,000 in construction. Firms certified by the SBA as SDBs remain on the list of SDB-certified firms for a period of three years.
The 8(a) Program: SBA’s 8(a) program, named for a section of the Small Business Act, is a business development initiative that helps socially and economically disadvantaged Americans gain access to economic opportunity.
Participants can receive sole-source contracts, up to a ceiling of $3 million for services. While SBA helps 8(a) firms build their competitive and institutional know-how, the agency also encourages them to participate in competitive acquisitions.
Federal acquisition policies encourage federal agencies to award a certain percentage of their contracts to SDBs. To speed up the award process, the SBA has signed Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with 25 federal agencies allowing them to contract directly with certified 8(a) firms.
Recent changes permit 8(a) firms to form joint ventures and teams to bid on contracts. This enhances the ability of 8(a) firms to perform larger prime contracts and overcome the effects of contract bundling, the combining of two or more contracts together into one large contract.
Mid-Atlantic’s owner is a Native American which will qualify him to participate in the SDB and 8(a) programs.
The federal market is particularly appealing because the need for compost and fertilizer materials in highway and other federal construction projects is extremely large.
3.3 Sales Literature
We will prepare a general brochure with information and maps about Mid-Atlantic Recycling’s products and services for dissemination to potential customers, including both municipalities and compost users. Sales personnel will visit each potential customer with pricing, maps, and reminders of the facility. Sales literature will be very important, with the need to establish a high-quality look and feel in order to create a trusting sense of professionalism.
Composting is biological decomposition of organic materials. Bacteria, fungi, protozoans, insects, worms and other organisms typically play a part in the decomposition process. Composting is nature’s means of recycling. It will turn grass clipping, leaves, vegetables, fruit and other organic materials into a very beneficial soil amendment. Composting is also an effective means of reducing the amount of solid wastes going into our nation’s landfills. Mid-Atlantic Recycling’s process will greatly speed up the natural composting process.
As briefly described above, the human waste sludge used in Mid-Atlantic Recycling’s process will be picked up from municipalities in skid boxes provided by Mid-Atlantic Recycling. Accepting the waste, rental of the boxes, and transportation will all be sold as a service to the municipalities.
Upon arrival at our recycling facility, the sludge will be placed into one of six organic in-vessel digesters. These vessels are proven for composting various types of animal manure. In addition, Mid-Atlantic Recycling’s president, Oliver Pyne, has tested the unit’ ability to successfully compost human waste. The material compost produced was tested by the equipment manufacturer (CV Organics, Inc. of White Springs, TN) and found to be a high quality compost. Additionally, the compost material was recently tested by West Virginia University Agricultural Service Laboratory and found to be an exceptional soil amendment.
These recycling/composting units work as follows. The unit is 50 feet long. The sludge is placed into one end of the unit. To make compost, additional dry fibrous material such as sawdust, wood chips, or bark must be added. We will acquire a steady supply of these from International Paper Company.
The unit turns slowly, making four revolutions per hour, to ensure that adequate oxygen gets to all of the composting material. Also, the unit is set on a very slight, 2 degree, angle so that as the unit turns, the material slowly migrates toward the opposite end of the unit. During the composting process, the material heats up (due to the natural reaction) to temperatures of approximately 140 degrees Farenheit; this kills any harmful bacteria in the composting material. Temperature can be controlled to ensure optimum composting environment. Also, the moisture levels can be controlled to ensure optimum composting. After three days, the material has reached the opposite end of the unit where it is removed.
Advantages of this recycling/composting method are as follows:
- Recycling is completed rapidly in three days. Other methods take 90 plus days.
- Waste materials in the unit are isolated from the environment.
- The manager has precise control of moisture, temperature, and aeration during the process to ensure the most efficient composting possible.
- In-vessel composting can maintain a rapid decomposition process year-round regardless of external ambient conditions. The material can be used for improvement of organic matter content and fertility of soil.
3.5 Future Products and Services
In the future, Mid-Atlantic Recycling plans to expand by opening additional recycling facilities throughout West Virginia and beyond. We ultimately intend to become the method of choice for disposal of human sludges.
Market Analysis Summary
There are customers at both ends of our supply chain that will benefit from our services and products. Municipalities will benefit from our service by having an alternative means of waste disposal. Other potential customers who will benefit from our compost product include turf farms, fertilizer manufacturers, nurseries, landscapers, golf courses, homeowners, and even the federal government for use in highway construction reseeding. Therefore, we have two basic market segments; those waste treatment facilities which will benefit from our services and consumers who will benefit from our product.
The Worldwatch Institute reports that landfills are overflowing and the costs of disposing of sewage and garbage is rising. City leaders can relieve over extended municipal budgets, prevent the contamination of drinking water, and help farmers build healthier soils by recycling garbage and human waste back to farms. At least 13 U.S. states have 6 years or less before all of their landfills are completely full. (Paper 135: Recycling Organic Waste: From Urban Pollutant to Farm Resource.) We offer a service by which municipalities can dispose of their waste without it having to be land filled anywhere. This is of great value to this customer.
At the other end of our process are the users of our compost. According to Cornell University (www.cals.cornell.edu/dept/compost.feas.study.html) composting is experiencing a resurgence of activity which is driven by increased understanding of the agronomic benefits of compost utilization, and rising disposal costs for municipal wastes. Also, according to Purdue University (www.ctic.purdue.edu/Core4/Nutrient/ManureMgt/Paper35.html) consumption of compost in the commercial market is growing due to people looking for a more organic or natural substitute for traditional chemical fertilizers. Recycling is at the forefront of responding to this growth trend in the Mid-Atlantic USA. We will initially focus on selling compost to fertilizer manufacturers, nurseries, and landscapers. We already have commitments from a fertilizer manufacturer and a landscaper to purchase 600 tons per year or more of our compost material.
Five major market segments for compost have been identified:
- Agriculture (for food and nonfood crops and sod farms).
- Landscapers (for industrial and commercial properties; golf courses, cemeteries, and athletic fields; landfill covers; and damaged soils).
- Nurseries (for plant and forest seedling crops and reforestation projects).
- Public agencies (for highway median strips, parks, recreational areas, and other public property).
- Residents (for home landscaping and gardening).
4.1 Market Segmentation
The following table shows information regarding the number of potential customers in our target markets. This data is based on information taken from superpages.com.
4.2 Target Market Segment Strategy
To target our customers, we examined the market trends. Mid-Atlantic Recycling’s products target buyers of organic fertilizers and soil enhancers. This market has grown significantly in recent years and we expect to capture a quarter of this multi billion-dollar market.
This market growth is fueled by a more health conscious consumer. People are better informed about the potential side effects associated with chemical fertilizer products both to their health and to the environment.
The growth of a more organic approach to gardening comes at a time when chemical options are diminishing. In 2000, the federal Environmental Protection Agency reached agreement with the makers of two widely used pesticides — Diazinon and Chlorpyrifos — to phase them out because of health problems associated with overexposure. Popular brands of Diazinon include Ortho and Spectracide; Chlorpyrifos is marketed under the trade name Dursban and is included in numerous familiar products, including Ortho Lawn Insect Spray (Washington Post, Thursday, May 10, 2001).
According to an executive with the Scotts Co. in Marysville, Ohio, the pace of research into organic products continues feverishly, and their use is bound to increase.
Sales of organic foods have risen sharply. Organic food sales at the retail level totaled $10.4 billion, according to Katherine DiMatteo, executive director of the Organic Trade Association. This year, retail sales of organic foods are expected to exceed $15 billion — with more than $32 billion projected by 2009 (CNBC, Dec. 3, 2004).
Findings from a 15-year study at the Kamlath Institute, Newton, Pa., might lead to a solution that could help reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The researchers suggest that regenerative agricultural management systems based on organic fertilizer can preserve carbon and nitrogen in the soil, thus reducing emissions. Moreover, they maintain that organic methods can produce the same yields as conventional systems that use synthetic fertilizer. If the major corn/soybean growing region of the U.S. were to adopt these organic practices, they say, the percentage of estimated annual carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere from fossil fuel combustion in the nation could be reduced by one to two percent (USA Today, June 1999).
Mid-Atlantic’s products will help fill the growing need for organic fertilizers, and soil amendments, while helping to solve the problem of dwindling landfill space.
4.2.1 Market Needs
Several companies compete in the fertilizer market. Their major selling points are performance and price. However, health conscious consumers have created growing competition between chemical and organic products. Mid-Atlantic Recycling’s competition can be divided into two forms: direct and indirect.
Our direct competitors would include other compost producers capable of producing sufficient product to supply the growing compost demand. There is no other compost producer in West Virginia that meets this need. Therefore, we have no direct competition in the state. Additionally, there are only a handful in the entire Mid-Atlantic USA; therefore, our direct competition on a regional basis is extremely limited.
Our indirect competitors are fertilizer manufacturers (who also are a part of our target market). As noted elsewhere in this business plan, the trend is away from chemical fertilizers, toward natural organic soil enhancers. Thus the market for chemical fertilizer is decreasing while our market is increasing.
4.2.2 Market Trends
Current trends in the market greatly favor the start-up of our recycling business.
Laws have been passed in West Virginia placing greater restrictions of the types of landfills which can receive human waste sludge. These laws take effect in 2008. Municipalities are already seeking alternative means of disposal as disposal prices are expected to skyrocket as landfill space decreases dramatically. Our recycling service solves this problem for municipalities.
The organic industry now boasts sales in excess of $9 billion at retail, with growth forecast to continue at 25% per year (http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/marketfarming/2002-October/000063.html). The demand for compost to use in organic farming and other applications is growing rapidly.
4.2.3 Market Growth
The possibility of growth in this market is realistically huge. Consider the following simple facts:
- Municipalities must have an alternative means for disposing of human waste; we offer a great alternative to meet that need.
- Market trends are skewing more and more toward organic soil enhancements and away from chemical fertilizers; we meet this need as well.
- We have no direct competition in West Virginia and very little in the Mid-Atlantic region.
All of this means that Mid-Atlantic Recycling is poised to see tremendous growth.
4.3 Service Business Analysis
Our service offers a feasible, even desirable, alternative to traditional means of disposing of human waste. Our product is a value added, soil enhancer that appeals to the growing environmental conscientiousness among consumers. Direct competition is almost nonexistent. We intend to position ourselves as the logical, economical choice for human waste disposal and compost production in West Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic region.
4.3.1 Distributing a Service
Indirect competitors are those companies that offer only chemical soil enhancers and plant foods. Mid-Atlantic Recycling feels that these companies are an indirect form of competition because though the products they promote attempt to give the same results as our direct competition, they fall far short of current market expectations, and it will only be a matter of time until these companies’ products will be out-dated. Even so, Mid-Atlantic Recycling does acknowledge that as these companies’ products become outdated, many companies will be certain to phase-in their own organic substitutes in place of the chemicals. This, in itself, presents a potential market for our compost.
4.3.2 Competition and Buying Patterns
To be a player in the organic fertilizer and soil produce market, Mid-Atlantic Recycling identified market needs to gain an overall competitive advantage. The following explains our product’s competitive advantages. Our product is:
- Organic: Our organic product allows us to be responsive to the dominant market trend. We offer all of the advantages that organic products have over chemical competitors.
- Comparable application times: Based on the West Virginia University laboratory analysis, our product is comparable in potency to chemical fertilizer. Thus the application time is also comparable, which saves money and labor since there is no need to purchase and apply additional products.
- Recycled: This part of our product has to do with marketing. We are a company that cares about the consumer and the environment. We offer a valuable product, at low cost, that saves landfill space.
4.3.3 Main Competitors
As noted earlier, direct competitors are essentially non-existent in the Mid-Atlantic region. Our major indirect competitors are chemical fertilizer manufacturers. However, their products are more costly and do not address the market’s trend toward organic, natural soil enhancers.
Some municipalities have begun composting operations in an attempt to deal with waste disposal issues. They typically use a method in which sludge is placed on the ground in windrows which are turned periodically for aeration. This is an inefficient method of composting primarily because it is slow, taking 90 or more days, which means that availability is uncertain for consumers. Also, in this composting method high enough temperatures are not achieved to kill harmful bacteria and seeds that may sprout into weeds. Additionally, municipalities are not businesses, which means their marketing capabilities are limited. Their market primarily consists of local homeowners and businesses, which ignores the greater market. Also, this composting method requires a lot of ground space which restricts the operation. Finally, odor can be a problem for municipalities due to nearness of local residents or businesses. For these reasons, municipality composting efforts are not considered a competitive threat.
4.3.4 Business Participants
Mid-Atlantic Recycling’s direct competition includes companies that produce an organic soil enhancement product. Organic soil enhancers are no longer a niche market. They have grown into a strong sub-market in the fertilizer and soil enhancement industry, and they now present significant competition for chemical fertilizer competitors. Major direct competition includes FSH, makers of Holy Cow Compost, and Scott’s, makers of Iron Bull. Other examples of competing products are Monkey-Doo, Roots Organic, and Milorganite, the original (75 years) sewage sludge based organic fertilizer.