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Resourceful ideas

plantsIn resource-rich industries like forestry, fishing and agriculture, harvesting and processing leaves behind useful organic waste that is usually relegated to landfill.

But these days, a Fredericton-based company is supporting Maritime industry by not only managing waste, but converting it into sustainable green products.

Envirem Organics takes contaminant-free waste from these industries—waste that would otherwise end up in a landfill site—and converts it into composts, organic soils, bark mulches, potting mixes and organic fertilizers. Their products are sold in retail stores and to the farming industry across America’s Eastern seaboard under the names of Greenhouse GoldTM and Nutri-WaveTM.

Established in 2010, Envirem’s 75 employees operate eight facilities in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and processes more than 500,000 tonnes of bark, manure and potato, fish, lobster, crab and salmon waste annually.

Bob Kiely, general manager, says the recycling bug bit him in the early nineties when there was a growing focus on environmental management in industry.

“If you’re a mill, and you’re competing on the global market, you’re being evaluated not just on your quality, but on your environmental scorecard,” he says. “As we’ve become more successful, companies have understood the value of recycling for sales and marketing.”

Not to mention the value of sustainability.

Envirem is constantly researching new alternatives for non-sustainable resources, like topsoil, for instance. In the past, topsoil would have been gleaned from floodplains or productive agricultural fields. Today, Envirem produces manufactured soil: a compost and sand blend that is a green sustainable product.

The company is looking for greener alternatives for another useful, but non-sustainable resource – peat.

“Peat is really a high quality medium but it’s not renewable—it takes thousands of years to create. So we’re doing a lot of research to offer peat alternatives that will extend the life of our peat reserves in New Brunswick.”

Bob says that the company’s partnership with ACOA is very important to the growth of their company.

“They’ve provided capital for traditional buildings and processing equipment to expand our efficiency and production capacity.”

And since research and product development is pivotal to fulfill Envirem’s long-term goals, assistance from the Atlantic Innovation Fund was critical for their launch of a four-year research project. Envirem is now working in conjunction with Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Agriculture to identify more organic products that have high value in the marketplace.

“We currently produce a lot of organic fertilizer and other organic amendments approved as inputs for the organic certified vegetable and fruit industry. There is growth in these industries in the Maritimes and throughout the world, so we’re trying to advance our product development to target these markets.”

And with more and more consumers demanding green and sustainable products, Envirem’s commitment to fresh and green ideas has never been more vital.

Published February 11, 2013