In American football, teams must be efficient at offense, defense and special teams, and they need to work well together to win games. Similarly, the three companies owned by AGI Environmental Inc. work very well together to excel in the waste and recycling industry. The star of the team is Ground Force Environmental Inc., which does civil, industrial and technology environmental remediation work throughout the province of Ontario and beyond. AGI's trucking company, RCT Bins, transports waste from worksites and municipalities, and finally, WasteAway Recycling & Environmental, located in Kitchener, Ontario, processes all of the material brought in from the two companies, as well as from other area sources.
The well-crafted team has taken the company's owner 10 years to develop. AGI was started in 2009 by Dan Forsyth when Ground Force Environmental opened its doors. Along the way, the trucking company was added, and land for WasteAway was secured in 2012.
It would take an additional three years for the organization to obtain all the necessary permits and develop the 14,400-square-foot building (1337.8 square metres) to house their waste recycling operation. Today, Forsyth's vision of creating a complete operation that could process recyclable material for beneficial reuse, while helping the environment and saving landfill space, is a reality.
EXCELLING IN ALL THREE PHASES
Starting with a team of five individuals, AGI now has more than 100 full-time employees. Each of the company's three divisions works together but operates separately. Ground Force handles the bulk of the work on waste generating sites. Then, construction debris and other materials are hauled by RCT Bins' fleet of trucks to the WasteAway facility for processing. If a project calls for land clearing, WasteAway will send a crew to the site to grind material using its Vermeer HG6000 horizontal grinder.
According to Mike Forsyth, operations manager for WasteAway, this machine does spend a lot of time in the field, but is also essential back at WasteAway's recycling facility. "We replaced a couple of smaller machines with the HG6000 Horizontal Grinder in 2016," explains Forsyth.
"All of the wood waste we receive at our facility is processed with that machine, and we also send it frequently out to the field. We depend on the machine for a lot of things."The wood chips processed through WasteAway's HG6000 Grinder get reused as biomass for making animal bedding and for creating material to absorb liquid waste.
"Our biggest customers of the processed material are ourselves (Ground Force), followed by greenhouses and the farming community," explains Forsyth. "It's pretty cool how we're able to reuse the bulk of the waste we collect. It's what makes us a great team."
The WasteAway HG6000 Horizontal Grinder is set up to grind material to under 3 inches (7.6 cm) in size using a hex-shape screen. Forsyth says their setup creates the right size material for their biomass needs and helps separate nails and other debris, while still giving them a production rate of 200 to 250 yards per hour (182.9 to 228.6 metres per hour).
Managing an increasing amount of wood wasteSince adding the Vermeer horizontal grinder, the amount of wood waste and processing work being done for other companies has increased dramatically, and oftentimes the raw material isn't as clean as what Forsyth would like to see. Not catching contaminates, especially metal, was causing increased maintenance on their machine.
"In the beginning, it was easy to pre-sort through the wood waste material by hand and remove any non-wood debris," he explains. "However, as we've grown, so has the amount of waste we're taking in, which has made sorting through everything impossible. It's also not a realistic expectation to ask customers to make sure there isn't any non-wood material in their piles when we're working at their locations."