Free Waste Audit

Rocky Point Mulch


Contaminated Compost Overs






TWO months ago, sugar cane farmer Josh Keith, who also runs Green Fingers Potting Mix and Rocky Point Mulch in Queensland, decided to take control of his growing stockpile of legacy green waste.

The decision was not an easy one, considering he’d have to invest in plant he had never used or thought about using before. Josh has only had his fingers in the composting pie for about three years so it can be said that he’s fairly new to the game. In those three years, Green Fingers, which produces potting mix, compost and soils and supplies them to Rocky Point Mulching for sale to the agricultural sector and nurseries around the country, a legacy pile has occupied the site’s pad.

“The legacy pile was a problem that was building up and the cheapest thing to do was to stockpile it, let it sit on the pad, and not worry about it. But these things catch up with you quickly,” Josh acknowledged. Not only did the stockpile take up valuable real estate, it was costing the company both in the present and the future.”

“The large amount of rocks and other plastics that was in our pile has been in circulation so they’ve been going through the composting process for the last three years. What you probably don’t realise is that if we were to pull 5000 tonnes of heavies out of that, it’s 5000 tonnes that we were shifting around on-site every three months – you take it from your oversize fraction, you put it back in, you compost it again, you screen it again, and then you shift it again and you do that four times a year,” Josh said.

“Two months ago, we decided that we had to free up the hardstand. But [the decision] came down to selling the product rather than letting it sit on the pad. If we can turn it into a product that we can use and sell right away, instead of letting it sit on our pad for 12 months, that’s cash flow for us.”

Project Highlights

Key outcomes and benefits of the project

Mulch company invests in EDGE MC1400 material classifier

Processing of contaminated compost overs legacy pile

Separating rocks, plastics and paper from green waste in just one pass

Recovery of ferrous metals

Enhanced separation control enables application flexibility

Quick return on equipment investment via new revenue generator

Recovery of yard space and increased production capacity

Reduced site litter

Creation of clean organic material form so call waste by -product

Giving Green Fingers the edge

For Josh, the biggest challenge was coming to terms with the capital spend and how he would get the best return on investment. He embarked on a process of trialing a number of material classifiers before deciding on the EDGE MC1400, distributed by machinery specialist Focus Enviro, which he had viewed at another customer’s site in Sydney.

On top of dealer support; value for money and machine design drove his decision. The machine was purchased mainly for separating the rocks from green waste and out of the oversize fraction as well as for the extraction of contaminated plastics and papers from the final product. “The design of the machine, with its large 1400mm opening, and how the actual separator works, best suited our needs as it lets the big rocks drop out whereas another machine I trialed didn’t do that,” Josh explained.

The MC1400 is able to extract impurities from highly contaminated material in a single pass using controlled air flow as a separation medium. Contaminated compost overs are first screened before being fed to the MC1400 to be separated into a range of materials, including clean rock, ferrous materials, clean organic fraction, and light fraction. At the same time, plastics are removed to prevent them from re-entering the compost stream. Operators are able to adjust a range of controls, from fan and feed conveyor belt speed, to drum positioning.

Additionally, the machine is fitted with a wide feed conveyor to allow for an even spread of material, which can be fed from existing trommel screens, increasing the efficiency of separation. In being a fully self-contained machine, air flow is better controlled while air depressurisation, dust creation and spillage are minimised. At present, Green Fingers composts more than 40,000 tonnes of green waste a year. To get through its legacy pile, the company has been running the MC1400 full-time in October and will continue to do so till the end of November.

Now that the machine has been in operation for a few months, Josh is able to reflect on the capital spend and said that based on early figures, he expects a return on investment in four years. “And that’s purely based on the numbers and selling product to pay off the machine. But there are a lot of other benefits that we’ve not included in this estimate, for instance the space we’ve freed up space on-site and the capacity it gives us,” Josh said. “If I were to move to an alternative screening solution, I can run the MC1400 off three-phase power, off 415 volts. I won’t need to run the motor because it’s got the ability to plug into power if power becomes a cheaper option,” he added.

The main areas of removal

THE MC1400 turns waste materials from the compost process into fractions that can be reused. At the same time, it removes light plastics from re-entering the compost/organics material stream.

“For years within the organic recycling industry the search for a solution to effectively remove light plastics from compost has been the holy grail. The EDGE MC1400 can remove over 98% of these plastics in a single pass,” Focus Enviro managing director Robbie McKernan said.


The main areas of removal are:

  • Clean rock
  • Ferrous metals
  • Clean organic fraction (suitable for reuse back to the compost process)
  • Light fraction/plastic contamination

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