A Plastic Society

Ariel view of Lawn-Corps from a United flight.

Ariel view of Lawn-Corps from a United flight.

A year ago I was on a United flight when, from the air, I was amazed at an unexpected site ... Lawn-Corps! It reminded me of a line from a Jason Isbell song: “From the sky we look so organized and brave." It rings true. We’ve all marveled at our earth from an airplane; the incredible patterned farmland in squares and circles, the neatly planned grids of neighborhoods with ribbons of road and highway. How spectacularly perfect our world looks from the air. From the ground, the reality that our city, our world, is not so organized and those that pollute it, not so brave. 

What's left behind after a compost screening.

What's left behind after a compost screening.

We bear witness daily; the senseless polluting of our earth, endangering wildlife, waterways and the air we breathe. Litter has made a home along our city streets, highways and in our parks where our children play; cigarette butts, pop cans, fast food wrappers, and plastic ... lots and lots of plastic. We see it at Lawn-Corps too, a water bottle in this bag, a flower pot in another, tennis balls and landscape netting. It may seem insignificant, but it adds up ...  it all adds up.

Recently, I came across a great video narrated by "The Dude" himself, Jeff Bridges. It was eye opening and a bit horrific. I found the statistics alarming and was so moved that I found it important to share its message with you.  I urge you to watch and share it with others in hopes that it will inspire all of us to do the right thing. 

Until next time ... have fun playing in the dirt.

 

 

 

Compost

It's June and at Lawn-Corps, that means compost. The growing season gives us plenty of green waste coming into our Belton facility for recycling and that's just what we need to start producing our star product.

 

Compost Fields

Compost Fields

The mountain of dry leaves from last fall can finally be processed and it takes green to do it.  There are several factors to producing compost and certain chemical requirements are needed. Nitrogen, from green waste, carbon, from dried leaves, oxygen and water.

Brown and Green Waste

Brown and Green Waste

To begin the composting process, we build long windrows of brown waste (carbon) which provides microorganisms with a source of energy needed to decompose organic matter and add green waste (nitrogen), needed to accelerate composting.

Early stage of compost

Early stage of compost

The rows are turned and watered frequently. Turning the windrows adds oxygen which helps reduce odors. Watering gives life to the tiny microorganisms that break down the organic matter. When watering, we have to keep in mind that too much water will cause odors and loss of nutrients, too little water slows down the decomposition. 

Turning and watering windrows

Turning and watering windrows

The science of composting is far more detailed than what I’m talking about here. Basically, we cook our compost. It’s called thermophilic composting. A few days after combining all the browns and greens, the process slowly goes in to the thermophilic stage. Heat starts building and steam starts rising. It’s a great indicator that we’re on track when the temperature of the compost is measured between 140 - 160 degrees. The compost is rapidly decomposing and at those temperatures, killing weed seeds and disease causing organisms.

The compost is cooking!

The compost is cooking!

The entire process takes about sixty days. After the compost has cured it goes through the screener to remove any large woody items that might remain. 

Curing stage before compost enters the screener

Curing stage before compost enters the screener

It’s a beautiful product that we take great pride in. The color of the compost is deep and rich, the texture is soft and fluffy and it packs a punch in your garden!  

Finished product

Finished product

The impact it has on your garden is undeniable. Not only are you amending your soil but your plants thrive. Flowers pop with color, vegetables produce abundant crops and lawns become more lush.

Flowers grown in compost.

Flowers grown in compost.

Seeing is believing. Come visit us on the farm and see for yourself.

Mulch … for a healthier, more beautiful garden

Lawn-Corps takes great pride in the quality and variety of our mulch. We work hard to produce mulches in a manner that work in harmony with our environment. Mulch is one of the key ingredients for maintaining a sustainable garden or landscape. For that reason, it is important to note, all of the water based colorants we use in our colored mulches are eco-friendly, mold and fungus resistant and safe for children and pets. By selecting mulch, or any product, through Lawn-Corps, you are participating in improving our community, our environment and our planet.

Here is some insight on how Lawn-Corps processes your wood waste into organically colored mulches. 

Hogdzilla

Hogdzilla

Above, an example of a crude rough grind straight from the jaws of Hogzilla.

Above, an example of a crude rough grind straight from the jaws of Hogzilla.

All brush is deposited in a centralized location at the farm while waiting to be processed. When a workable amount is accumulated, we call in Hogzilla, a tub grinder....a very large 1200 hp tub grinder, with a diameter of 18ft. Hogzilla  will chew up a tree and turn it into grind within minutes. 

Screening Mulch

Screening Mulch

At this point, the grind is put through a 3/8” screener to remove excess dirt and saw dust. Lawn-Corps is one of two wood waste recycling facilities in the Kansas City area that do this. It’s an important step because approximately 240 lbs. of dirt and saw dust will be screened to produce one yard of mulch. This leaves you with pure mulch.

Coloring Mulch

Coloring Mulch

The next step is a final 2” grind, producing an evenly shredded product. It’s during this final grind that the organic colorant is added. 

Following this process, the mulch must cure for 48 hours then it’s off to your home.

 

It's a small step but, you can feel confident that in using our products, you're contributing to a sustainable environment. Wood waste, an otherwise useless material, has been repurposed  into a viable garden product to help restore our earth.

From this…..

brush pile.jpg

To this….it truly is a metamorphosis.

Sample Shack

Sample Shack

To see our assortment of mulches, stop by our Sample Shack at the farm.

Hope to see you soon!

March is a big month at Lawn-Corps!

The Lawn-Corps newsletters have made a 2014 debut! Our desire is to keep you updated with the latest and greatest. Check this blog for monthly specials, products and tips that will keep your thumb and wallet green. Our hopes by issuing a monthly newsletter, is to give you a glimpse at who we are and what we can do for you. Take a minute to sign up on the right here if you'd like to receive our Green Living Newsletter each month.

March is a big month here at Lawn-Corps. It marks the beginning of spring, which is when our wheels start rolling. Appropriately, we start off green, beginning our weekly curbside collection on St Patricks Day, March 17.

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It’s been 22 years since we celebrated St Patrick’s Day by introducing a very “green” Lawn-Corps at the Brookside St Patricks Day Parade. “Reduce, reuse, recycle” was taking root in Missouri and when the law changed in January of 1992, Lawn-Corps took a leap into the new industry of green.

A lot has changed since then. Within 6 months from when this picture was taken we had gone from a homemade side board trailer to trash trucks. Today, Lawn-Corps owns and operates a 37 acre yard-waste processing facility in Belton, Missouri. We have become the only green waste hauler in South Kansas City that collects and processes yard waste into high end products such as compost and organic mulches. The most profound change however is that Kansas City residents have become educated in the importance of recycling through the services we've provided. Their decisions regarding recycling and a greener city have become second nature and what's more important, are now being passed on to their children.

Today, we’re happy to be on the other side of “green”, no longer a novice but after 22 years of serving you and our community, we’re proud to be a proven leader in Kansas City’s yard waste recycling, committed to providing you with a quality service based on trust and performance.