EATON, Colorado | The words “divert” and “sustainable” explain A1 Organics’ business in the simplest of terms: they divert organic waste from landfills to create compost, soil blends and mulch, resulting in a more sustainable Colorado.
Headquartered in Eaton, Colorado, A1 Organics is family owned and operated since 1974, and has diverted more than 7 million tons of organic material from landfills since 2000.
On average, they recycle more than 425,000 tons of organic material per year, said Kent Pendley, Vice-President and COO.
While large numbers are impressive, their reputation lies with the consistency and quality of their products. Customers know they’re getting quality when they purchase compost, soil, or mulch from A1 Organics.
“It’s what sets us apart in the market,” says Pendley.
Quality Begets Quality
Producing consistent high-quality finished products requires consistent, high-quality equipment. For Pendley and A1 Organics, Ecoverse is their equipment supplier of choice. From the first pass of the material to the final screening, they trust Ecoverse machines to do the job.
A1 Organics receives much of their organic waste from local municipalities. Homeowners and businesses from all over Colorado put their food and green waste into bins, which are delivered in bulk to A1 Organics.
Their composting process begins with the initial volume reduction and blending of the material by a Doppstadt DW 3060K shredder.
The high-torque, low-speed DW 3060K shredder works much better than a high-speed grinder for the first pass, said Pendley. In addition to the significant fuel savings over a high-speed unit, the rougher cut of the shredder prevents fines from building up inside the equipment and is much more effective at removing the contamination that often comes in with the curbside collections.
After shredding, the material is put into windrows, where it’s completely turned and homogenized by a Backhus A55 windrow turner. They were first interested in Backhus turners because they were track-driven, but the main reason A1 Organics purchased their A55 was because it uses slow-speed, high-torque turning action instead of high-RPM chopping of the material. After evaluating several machines, it was clear to A1 that the Backhus turning drum did the best job of the bunch. The slow-speed turning is more forgiving if the machine runs into a large piece of wood or something else in the windrow, lowering wear costs significantly.
Additionally, they like that Backhus machines are always able to turn to the bottom of the pile, incorporating the wettest part of the material back into the windrow.
“The ability to get down to ground level was a big selling point for us,” said Pendley. “Competitor turners left about 6-8 inches of material on the ground unturned.”
For the final screening of their product, they trust a quartet of big production machines: 3 Doppstadt SM 726 trommels, and a Backers Star Screen, all from Ecoverse.
The simple and easy interchangeability of screening drums on Doppstadt trommels are key for A1 as they bring multiple products to market. Pendley says his team can change a drum in 12 minutes.
“This was the first trommel that had the interchangeable drums on it, which was a big interest to us. Other trommels have a very labor-intensive process to change drums,” said Pendley. “Hugh Fagan (Ecoverse president) introduced us to the Doppstadt trommels and we’ve stuck with them since.”
The versatility of a 3-fraction Backers Star Screen has allowed A1 to do even more with their material.
It was the ability to make a mid-sized product with the Backers that sold them on the machine, said Pendley. They had an opportunity to sell a biofilter product, and they wanted a machine that could be used for both that and the composting process.
A1’s Backers Star Screen produces 2 sellable products in one pass. The fines become a premium compost product and the midsize material is made into the biofilter product. The oversize material is sent back to the windrows for processing.
What Separates Ecoverse from the Rest
Processing hundreds of thousands of yards per year means operational uptime is the #1 critical factor to A1 when they decide on equipment.
“The most important thing is that these machines keep running and keep producing,” added Pendley.
Every brand has their selling points, but it’s the quality of the machine, parts support, service, and response time from the vendor that has kept A1 coming back to Ecoverse.
“That’s really what separates Ecoverse from the competitors in our eyes,” said Pendley. “Hugh has been attentive to us since the first day we started doing business with him. And if we’re having a problem, we can pick up the phone with John McGrath (Ecoverse service director) and speak directly to him and troubleshoot any issues we’re having on the phone.”
“We’ve got direct communication with the guys that can help us get decisions made and get solutions in place. When it all comes down to it, that’s going to be what makes our decision on which piece of equipment we’re going to put in there.”
To learn more about A1 Organics, visit their website at a1organics.com.
To learn more about the machines featured in this story, visit ecoverse.net.