Compost tops Stemilt’s sustainability efforts

07/12/2013 02:21:00 PM
Melissa Shipman

Courtesy Stemilt GrowersStemilt Growers co-owner Kyle Mathison examines compost on Stemilt Hill. Mathison is the creator of the company’s multi-acre compost farm, which began in 2005. For Wenatchee, Wash.-based Stemilt Growers, compost is a key part of sustainability efforts.

Stemilt has a compost farm near their orchards and 100% of green waste is recycled there, according to Brianna Shales, communications manager.

“Everything from leaves to fruit or even wood can be regenerated into fertilizers that feed the trees,” she said.

This process provides double benefits.

“Not only does this mean we have no waste, but it’s actually producing a product that is beneficial to our trees,” Shales said.

One of Stemilt’s owners opened a green-waste recycling facility in Wenatchee where other companies that produce green waste, such as lawn and garden companies, can bring their products.

The materials are then turned into compost that is used on Stemilt’s trees but that is also available for sale to community members.

There is a cost involved for companies to participate, but Shales said it’s still a positive result.

“This benefits the crops and the community,” she said.

Stemilt also is working to reduce its use of pallet shroud.

“We’ve come up with a way to reduce that usage by using corner boards to protect the pallets so we don’t have to use as much,” Shales said.

The process doesn’t reduce the company’s use of the non-recyclable product entirely, but it’s a step in the right direction, she said.

“It’s a new initiative this year so it’s not fully in place yet, but we’re working on it,” she said.

The goal is to reach 60% less usage.

In December, the company was presented a Governor’s award in Washington recognizing it for reaching a 30% reduction in energy usage at the Old Station facility through the use of computer-monitored fans in refrigeration areas.



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