Untapped potential: Repurpose It

Repurpose It has partnered with a leading mulch distributor to scale up its green waste capabilities and support the Victorian marketplace with value-added garden supplies.

Melbourne’s resource recovery network is filled with passionate and experienced businesses often quietly operating in the background to ensure consistent and clean material supply.

Producing value-added end products is the bread and butter of recycling, and in the area of green waste, there’s a multitude of expertise waiting to be untapped.

As one of Victoria’s leading garden supply distributors, Bark King provides barks and mulches to most garden supplies in metropolitan and rural areas. Its extensive product range spans barks, coloured decorative, natural and recycled timber mulches, softplay, compost and soil.

As a supplier for government departments, landscape firms and educational institutions, sustainability has formed part of the company’s ethos since its humble beginnings in 1975.

Now in its 44th year of trading, the Australian-owned company is directed by Founder Harrold Johnston’s sons Robert, Jeff and Stuart.

Using sustainable raw materials ensures Bark King offers a closed loop solution with its entire product range a by-product of other processes.

While Bark King offers its own unique value proposition to the market, it has discovered the power of collaborative partnerships, working extensively over the past two years with construction and demolition recycler Repurpose It.

Repurpose It was founded by four experienced operators across a variety of sectors spanning logistics, road sweeping and construction, organics waste processing and infrastructure maintenance.

In the area of organics, Co-founder Anthony van Schaik brought considerable experience as a Managing Director in the organics sector and it’s these established networks that inspired Bark King and Repurpose It to work together.

Since acquiring a unique 150-acre site in early 2017 in Epping, Melbourne, Repurpose It has formed a variety of partnerships with councils, contractors working on major projects and resource recovery organisations to process a variety of wastes.

Through its state-of-the-art construction and demolition washing plant, Repurpose It has continually refined its capabilities to accept organics, glass, street sweepings and excavation waste such as rock, sand and silt from major projects.

Repurpose It’s ability to receive and process street sweepings led Bark King to begin working with the company in June 2017, with Bark King taking and processing its materials at its Hallam facility.

Ashley Johnston, Bark King Business Development Manager, says it wasn’t long before an opportunity arose for the company to grow its partnership by relocating to the Epping site.

By processing Repurpose It’s green and timber waste, Bark King was able to substantially increase its market share and reintroduce finished products back into the agricultural and forestry industries.

Bark King could also offer its services on the transport side, while Repurpose It leveraged its extensive Epping site, which is uniquely positioned near major arterial roads.

“Recovering organic material, including pine bark, using our large fleet of trucks is the core of our business,” Ashley explains.

“Contributing to Australia’s smart, low-carbon economy of the future by playing our part in reducing disposal and recovering as much value from Australia’s natural resources is a goal that Bark King achieves every time a customer purchases one of our products.”

Complementing Repurpose It’s vision of industrial ecology, nothing Bark King receives ends up in landfill, with organics a prominent focus.

Ashley says that Bark King sources by-products from the local Victorian, South Australian and NSW forestry industry, processing around 75,000 tonnes per year. Organic residues are processed at its three sites in Hallam, Epping and Montrose and recycled into natural bark products.

Bark King applies strict guidelines on what it receives, ensuring any contaminated products are stopped at the weighbridge and fees applied. The green waste comes from a variety of councils and major project contractors in the building and demolition space and their respective waste management contractors.

“The joint partnership allowed both companies to use the best practices developed over the past 45 years to recycle and reintroduce products back to the market as high-quality organic growing substrates, soil conditioners and garden mulch, playing our part in the circular economy.”

Ashley says that sharing the same site as Repurpose It, which creates high-value end products, has given Bark King the refresh it needed to explore and play with new industry techniques.

“This ensures all natural pine bark supplied by Bark King is processed by us and not reliant on others,” he says.

He says that being able to manufacture quality products is very important to Bark King and great care is taken to ensure consistency across its range.

For example in its playground range, the company tests and accredits their playground surfacing to AS/NZS 4422 and AS4685 regulations. Bark King produces more than 75,000 cubic metres of soft cushioning mulch designed specifically for playgrounds and safeguards.

Ashley says that the agricultural and forestry industries play a key role in managing our natural resources and as the sectors become more sustainable, the partnership with Repurpose It only becomes more important.

Repurpose It’s George Hatzimanolis says the opportunity to partner with like-minded businesses that share the company’s vision for preserving Victoria’s resources for future generations has been mutually rewarding.

“Bark King’s product range and existing market outlets has enabled Repurpose It to broaden outs is service offerings to its clients and provide a closed loop service for organic waste streams being generated from major infrastructure project,” he says

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