Making a Business Out of Recycling Mushroom Compost

A business model that emerged out of necessity has now become the basis for a growing industry in Chester County, Pennsylvania. The booming growth in the county's mushroom industry that started almost a decade ago forced growers to confront the increasingly difficult task of disposing of the compost used to grow the mushrooms.

Two companies started around that time, Laurel Valley Soils Inc. and Skyland USA L.L.C., found an ingenious way of dealing with this problem: recycle the mushroom compost. Their growing revenues and expanding project portfolios have encouraged others to get into the business, a welcome relief for the many landscape architects and botanists having trouble getting their hands on healthy, fertile dirt. "Spent mushroom substrate" is recycled after mushrooms have been harvested and is the key component of these companies' new products. Although it is later blended with a mixture of straw, hay, corncobs and droppings from nearby poultry farms, the mushroom compost remains vital for the fertilizer's effectiveness because of the rich supply of nutrients it provides.

While Laurel Valley Soils specializes in the sale of topsoil, a blend of compost and other soils, and 100% compost, which is added to other soil, Skyland USA, a newer venture, focuses on the sale of specially blended lightweight soils for "green" roofs. These "green" roofs, or gardens, replace traditional roofs and perform several useful functions: they absorb rainwater to reduce storm-water runoff and reflect less heat.

Both companies have seen their clienteles and business grow exponentially over the last few years. Laurel Valley Soils Inc. was recently tapped to provide the specially blended dirt for the 386 trees that will be planted at the World Trade Center Memorial while Skyland USA has received numerous requests from individuals across the country.

Via ::New industry cultivated by used compost (newspaper)

See also: ::Tasty Lamps That You Can Compost, ::"I'll Compost Your Corpse" — The (Organic) Demise of Ethical Man, ::Getting Ready for Earth Day: Compost Your Organic Waste, ::Can I Autograph that Compost Bin for Ya?

WHAT'S HOT ON FACEBOOK

treehugger slideshows