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Turning waste to profit

by
October 03, 2017

Biomix managing director Jackie Yong and the company's operations manager Paul Newcombe stand in front of and hold the finished compost product.

Biomix windrow turner in action.

Biomix.

A former hairdresser has turned her hands to working with compost as Stanhope business biomix continues to work with farmers and agronomists to improve soil health and attempt to make farmers profitable.

The company’s managing director Jackie Yong has had big plans for the business ever since she took over in 2012.

‘‘I always wanted it to be the biggest in Victoria,’’ she said.

‘‘I wanted to start (this business) because I was into health, the environment and nature.’’

The Stanhope business has a licence for 100000 tonnes of organic feedstock, with the company using two different technologies to process waste.

‘‘Some (waste) is in windrows and some is in enclosed technology,’’ Ms Yong said.

‘‘Green waste and low-risk waste is the open windrows and the enclosed vessels are for high-risk waste.’’

Ms Yong said her former profession had urged her to be more environmentally-friendly.

‘‘I used to be a hairdresser in Melbourne,’’ she said.

‘‘Hairdressers produce the most waste. Hair is good for composting and absorbs water.’’

Despite the business being in the running for an award in the Agribusiness category of the GMCU Allianz Campaspe Murray Business Awards, it has not been all smooth sailing for Ms Yong and her team.

‘‘We had an agreement with Heinz that was going to see them send organic waste to us but a blue-green algae outbreak hindered me moving forward,’’ she said.

Biomix sells the product in bulk or by trailer load, but it is when it sells it that differs from other businesses, according to Ms Yong.

‘‘Most facilities will send out pasteurised compost when it is still hot and active,’’ she said.

‘‘We are the only company that provides mature compost at a commercial scale.’’

Ms Yong said waste had to be at a minimum of 55°C for three days and have a minimum of three turns before the temperature peaked at week four.

‘‘It starts to cool down between weeks four and eight when it is known as compost and then between eight and 12 weeks is when it is known as mature compost,’’ she said.

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