The Courier-Mail

Waste is a good mea­sure of health of the econ­omy



GREASE trap waste, spoiled milk, abat­toir blood and rot­ten fruit may be an un­likely in­di­ca­tor of the health of our econ­omy but for NuGrow founder Roy Wil­son the amount of the not-so-fra­grant cargo un­loaded at his waste re­cy­cling plant at Swan­bank, south­west of Bris­bane, is an ac­cu­rate barom­e­ter of eco­nomic prospects.

Mr Wil­son has built a prof­itable busi­ness around trans­form­ing the econ­omy’s castoffs into nu­tri­ent rich and valu­able com­post and soil.

“When the amount of waste starts to rise, the econ­omy is start­ing to im­prove,” he said.

The for­mer Ip­swich coal miner, who owns three other sim­i­lar sites around Queens­land, be­gan NuGrow in the shadow of the now-de­funct Swan­bank Power Sta­tion 15 years ago.

While the over­all econ­omy might be a bit slug­gish at the mo­ment, ac­cord­ing to Mr Wil­son’s barom­e­ter, he said prospects for NuGrow were look­ing up as the com­pany seeks to ex­pand the num­ber of pro­cess­ing sites and launch new prod­ucts..

The com­pany, which has an an­nual turnover of $15 mil­lion, still pro­cesses enough waste each year to fill 1.6 mil­lion wheelie bins.

Nugrow is part of an ex­pand­ing in­dus­try rid­ing on in- creased en­vi­ron­men­tal aware­ness and reg­u­la­tion. There are an es­ti­mated 120 busi­nesses across Aus­tralia in­volved in or­gan­ics re­cy­cling and com­post­ing with a turnover of $600 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the Waste Man­age­ment As­so­ci­a­tion of Aus­tralia.

NuGrow’s method of trans­form­ing waste from mines, build­ing sites, restau- rants and fac­to­ries has been likened to cook­ing.

Green waste such as grass clip­pings, branches and chipped wood is piled in rows to which liq­uid waste is added by a “win­dow turner” com­post ma­chine.

This cre­ates an oven-like en­vi­ron­ment, which af­ter 16 weeks of “cook­ing” re­sults in a re­us­able nu­tri­ent-rich com­post mix­ture that is sold for land­scap­ing, parks and road­ways.

Mr Wil­son is hop­ing to ex­pand na­tion­wide, us­ing the pro­cesses per­fected at Swan­bank at var­i­ous sites around Aus­tralia.

NuGrow is now work­ing on an or­ganic pel­let fer­tiliser that can be used by farm­ers to re­duce the amount of harm­ful flow off of chem­i­cal fer­tilis­ers to the Great Bar­rier Reef.

The pel­lets will be tri­alled at a cat­tle prop­erty ad­ja­cent to the Reef in the com­ing months.

NuGrow man­ager Peter El­lis said NuGrow was at heart a man­u­fac­tur­ing busi­ness that used waste by-prod­uct rather than tra­di­tional raw ma­te­ri­als to make a prod­uct.

 ??  ?? RE­CY­CLING: NuGrow founder Roy Wil­son at his Swan­bank com­post plant. Pic­ture: Liam Kid­ston
RE­CY­CLING: NuGrow founder Roy Wil­son at his Swan­bank com­post plant. Pic­ture: Liam Kid­ston

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