Good Earth Resources

Start your own business plan »

Recycling Energy Conversion Business Plan


Martin Creek and Barton landfills are close, easy-access locations for St. Louis metropolitan area waste hauling firms to dispose of solid municipal waste. By sending GER road tractors to haul waste to its sites from more distant waste transfer stations, the tonnage starting with the first day of operations will be assured.

Receiving facilities are enclosed buildings into which all incoming waste is dumped. This waste will be hand sorted removing 99% of all recyclables, then compacted, baled, and moved to the landfill.

The bales will form "bale cells" which include conduits for landfill gas capture. Each cell will be sealed in order to create an anaerobic environment for optimum gas generation and vector control.

After constructing the recycling facility and obtaining a permit, used tires will be crumbled and used throughout the landfill instead of crushed rock (inside bale cells to protect gas conduits, on landfill roads, and in the drainage system). Currently used tires generate an income of $1.75 to $2.00 per tire. Approximately 30,000 to 43,000 tires can be used per acre of landfill. This eliminates the cost of rock and requires no additional space for disposal.

Each bale cell will be wrapped with 60 mil polyvinyl chloride (PVC) sheets and sealed on all sides to trap and collect methane gas generated. Landfill gas is 55% methane (CH4), 45% carbon dioxide (C02), with trace amounts of nitrogen (N). The gas is cleaned, dried, and separated with membranes and filters. The methane can be used as fuel for electrical generators on site, providing substantial electricity savings.

Sales of electricity into the electrical grid is an alternate source of income for GER. Although large electric generators represent a significant capital investment, there is ample return on investment to warrant such expenditure. This option has the potential of adding approximately $4,000,000+ annually to the gross income.

Another process requiring different equipment and a significant capital investment is reforming the methane into methanol and food-grade C02. This process requires filtering, scrubbing, and bottling C02 for use in food and carbonated drinks and methanol for use as fuel, solvents, and windshield washer fluid.

In bulk form, methanol sales can generate $0.48 per gallon. As a vehicle fuel, this product is called M-85 and contains a mixture of 85% methanol and 15% gasoline and is used in vehicles that have dual configured engines. As the price of gasoline skyrockets, this method has more potential for an excellent adjunct profit center. All major automobile manufacturers offer assembly-line automobiles capable of using both M-85 and regular gasoline products in the same vehicle.

3.1 Service Description

Landfill tipping (dumping) fees are $34.00/ton ($11.33/yd) in St. Louis and nearby municipalities. In nearby Washington County, GER will provide landfill dumping for $28.00/ton ($9.33/yd). Tipping fees in Bond County, Illinois, the location of Barton landfill, are considerably lower at $18.00/ton ($6.50/yd) since the owners have not raised rates in over six years.  GER will address rate increases at Barton after acquiring the business.

3.2 Competitive Comparison

There are several types of competitors:

  1. Currently there are two landfills operating in St. Louis County, and two in Illinois across the Mississippi River twenty-five miles from downtown St. Louis. Waste trucks cross the river daily to the Illinois landfills. Round trip for a truck generally requires an hour and a half. At the landfills, roads are muddy in the fall, spring, and winter and dusty in the summer. Here is where the majority of waste truck breakdowns occur due to punctured tires, stalling, and mechanical problems. Both Martin Creek and Barton landfills will have paved dumping areas. Operation hours will be longer as well (6 AM to 8 PM daily and 6 AM to 2 PM on Saturdays).  In the four hours after other landfills are closed, GER landfills will attract hauling firms whose trucks have been delayed during the day, or whose pickup routes are longer.

  2. A city-owned transfer station on the south side of St. Louis operated by USA Waste will continue to service the southern side of the city. The charge for outside waste companies to dump at this facility is $35.93/ton. The facility is managed by USA Waste under contract with the city of St. Louis. Collected waste is hauled to a landfill owned by USA Waste in Milan, Illinois. Fees for the two landfills in Illinois are $34.00 per ton.  USA Waste inquired about diverting a portion of their waste stream to Barton.  However, the owners of Barton declined as they did not desire to add additional employees that an increased waste stream would require.

3.3 Sales Literature

GER will prepare maps and information about Martin Creek and Barton for dissemination to users. Sales personnel will visit each nearby waste hauler with pricing, maps, and reminders of the facility. Especially noted will be hours of operation, free coffee and sodas for drivers, savings on driving distances, and all other benefits users can obtain when using GER's facilities.

3.4 Technology

GER intends to lease the most modern equipment for its operation. This will include powerful balers, shredders, and conveyers. Much of this equipment has been used in the recycling industry over the past 10-20 years and has been modified to handle normal waste stream material.

Initially trucks, loaders, and tractors will be leased. In time, GER will purchase these vehicles. Should it opt to construct the methanol reformation facility, the vehicles GER purchases will have methanol fuel engines allowing the use of either methanol or conventional fuels.

New technology to assist in landfill gas generation continues to be developed. Cleaner gas, new processes, and techniques enhance GER's capability of using landfill gas more effectively.

GER intends to install monitoring systems at the landfill to allow managers and officers to observe activity, verify trucks and loads by remote access and computers.

3.5 Future Services

After the landfill has been operating for at least six months, GER will commence collecting methane gas to power electrical generators. During the first six months, the primary effort will be spent stabilizing the basic operation and working out start-up problems. Subsequently, decisions regarding the final utilization of methane will be made.

Marketing programs will commence to bring in baled waste from cities such as Chicago, Boston, Cleveland, New York, Washington, Providence, Hartford, Newark, and Philadelphia, as well as other Missouri municipalities and markets, such as Fort Leonard Wood, a U.S. Army base approximately 85 miles from the landfill in Rolla, Missouri. All of these locations have increasing problems with burgeoning waste and fewer available landfills. Rail-hauling baled waste is expected to be a significant profit center for GER.

New York City's residential waste fees are normally $140.00 per ton (currently being held at an artificially low price by city government), whereas St. Louis fees are $34.00 per ton.  The rail access at both GER landfills allow importation of this high profit waste stream.  Rail shipping costs are approximately $7.00 per ton, thus facilitating reasonable means to import this profitable source of income in a manner that does not attract attention by using surface roads.

Income from methane gas generation will be gravy for an already lucrative waste and recycling business.  Nationwide electrical and gasoline shortages add an urgency to utilize this valuable byproduct. The American Methanol Institute has been helpful in providing information regarding methane reformation into methanol.

The cost of waste removal is expected to rise dramatically over the next decade. GER selected its landfill sites in rural locations, yet reasonably close to a major population center to capitalize on the growing need for landfills. Martin Creek and Barton are optimally situated to take advantage of the impending rising costs and landfill closure crisis.

GER intends to defuse any public concern by maintaining highly sanitary facilities that use ozone generators to eliminate odors, insects, and rodents. Baled waste does not cause the landfill to have the messy, littered appearance of traditional landfills. Baled waste is dense, and, with paper and other recyclables removed, there is minimal blowing waste to litter the area.  The "active" area is covered by earth and Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) sheets, thus reducing odor, vectors, birds, and insects.

3.5.1 New York City Waste Stream

Every five days New York City's garbage could fill Yankee Stadium. New York City has been wrestling with its garbage disposal for many years now.  Its only landfill, Fresh Kills on Staten Island, recently closed. With this closure, its problem has reached crisis proportions. New York USA Waste personnel are scrambling to find a "home" for their never-ending waste. It is the intent of Good Earth Resources to import a portion of this lucrative waste stream. New York City residents and businesses are charged in excess of $1.5 billion per year to dispose of their garbage. New York City pays $46.00 cubic yard ($140.00/ton) to dispose its waste, while the rate in St. Louis is $11.33 cubic yard ($34.00/ton).

Currently most of the New York City waste stream is exported via truck and barge. Necessarily, the truck traffic passes through New Jersey and its residents, greatly dissatisfied with this traffic, continually seek means to stop it. Furthermore, destination states such as Virginia, Pennsylvania, and others also wish to limit waste truck traffic and waste importation. This presents an unusual opportunity for GER. By using rail-hauling and on-site rail spurs, there will be minimal awareness on imported waste. Income from 1,000 tons per day from New York City to each GER landfill will increase the return on investment significantly.