Respected recycled organics firm Australian Native Landscapes (ANL) celebrates 45 years in business this year. Its founder, Patrick Soars, shares details of its latest projects and his insights on issues affecting the sector.
Barangaroo Reserve, between Darling Harbour and Millers Point, is Sydney’s newest harbour foreshore park. Formerly one of the city’s ugliest industrial sites, 5.7-hectare park has been transformed with 10,000 sandstone blocks and 75,000 native plants and trees into an oasis similar to how it would have looked when the first European settlers arrived.
Integral to this project was the expertise and soil conditioning products of Australian Native Landscapes (ANL).
ANL is a privately owned and operated Australian company and has a long history in organics waste recycling.
Patrick Soars launched ANL in 1971 – joined by wife Sharon as Co-Director in 1976 – and has shaped its development into a diverse and environmentally conscious operation.
Celebrating his 45th year in business this year, Patrick says while ANL started as a landscape and horticultural supply company, his passion has always been organics.
As a young apprentice landscaper in the late 1960s, he recalls that there weren’t any organics options available.
“Mulch and organics recycling were quite foreign to the landscaping industry, but it was something I was interested in,” Patrick says. “ANL has been built around developing products and specifications for organics, and we’ve really pioneered product development in New South Wales and most of Australia.”
He says that early on as his business started, so did a couple in South Australia and Western Australia, all of them starting out recycling forest residues, which then developed into other organic streams, such as timber and green waste.
Patrick explains that much of the inspiration for those starting the Australian organics recycling sector came from the United States.
“I remember in the early 1970s, visiting trade shows and seeing what the Americans were doing,” he says. It was in the US he first encountered biosolids processing, which he then introduced in 1987.
Fast forward 40 years, and the company processes more than 600,000 tonnes per year of these materials from nine horticultural products manufacturing facilities around New South Wales. ANL was also the first company to gain 4454 and 3743 certification for its products.
In 2013, Patrick won the AORA Leadership in Recycling Organics award for reaching a significant industry milestone in the land application of more than 500,000 tonnes of compost products, including green waste, food waste and biosolids.
It’s been an incredible journey.
To read more see page 40 of Issue 8.