Mid Atlantic Recycling
Problem & Solution
Mid-Atlantic Recycling’s mission is threefold. Our first responsibility is to ensure the financial well being of the business. Second, is to provide municipalities with an economical, alternative for the disposal of human waste sludge. Third, is to provide a top quality, recycled material to the consumer so that they may benefit from compost’s many good properties and organic elements. In addition, we hope to build in the consumer a positive feeling about the feasibility of using recycled human sludge as a fertilizer.
Market Size & Segments
The following table shows information regarding the number of potential customers in our target markets. This data is based on information taken from superpages.com.
As reflected in the table, there are approximately 34 waste treatment plants in West Virginia. These are all potential customers for our collection service and sources of material for compost processing. Additionally, there are a total of 1,779 potential customers in the initial target market for our compost product. This includes 11 fertilizer manufacturers, approximately 30 sod/turf farms, 324 nurseries, 483 golf courses, and 931 landscapers.
Target Market Segment Strategy
To target our customers, we examined the market trends. Mid-Atlantic Recycling’s products target buyers of organic fertilizers and soil enhancers. This market has grown significantly in recent years and we expect to capture a quarter of this multi billion-dollar market.
This market growth is fueled by a more health conscious consumer. People are better informed about the potential side effects associated with chemical fertilizer products both to their health and to the environment.
The growth of a more organic approach to gardening comes at a time when chemical options are diminishing. In 2000, the federal Environmental Protection Agency reached agreement with the makers of two widely used pesticides — Diazinon and Chlorpyrifos — to phase them out because of health problems associated with overexposure. Popular brands of Diazinon include Ortho and Spectracide; Chlorpyrifos is marketed under the trade name Dursban and is included in numerous familiar products, including Ortho Lawn Insect Spray (Washington Post, Thursday, May 10, 2001).
According to an executive with the Scotts Co. in Marysville, Ohio, the pace of research into organic products continues feverishly, and their use is bound to increase.
Sales of organic foods have risen sharply. Organic food sales at the retail level totaled $10.4 billion, according to Katherine DiMatteo, executive director of the Organic Trade Association. This year, retail sales of organic foods are expected to exceed $15 billion — with more than $32 billion projected by 2009 (CNBC, Dec. 3, 2004).
Findings from a 15-year study at the Kamlath Institute, Newton, Pa., might lead to a solution that could help reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The researchers suggest that regenerative agricultural management systems based on organic fertilizer can preserve carbon and nitrogen in the soil, thus reducing emissions. Moreover, they maintain that organic methods can produce the same yields as conventional systems that use synthetic fertilizer. If the major corn/soybean growing region of the U.S. were to adopt these organic practices, they say, the percentage of estimated annual carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere from fossil fuel combustion in the nation could be reduced by one to two percent (USA Today, June 1999).
Mid-Atlantic’s products will help fill the growing need for organic fertilizers, and soil amendments, while helping to solve the problem of dwindling landfill space.
To be a player in the organic fertilizer and soil produce market, Mid-Atlantic Recycling identified market needs to gain an overall competitive advantage. The following explains our product’s competitive advantages. Our product is:
- Organic: Our organic product allows us to be responsive to the dominant market trend. We offer all of the advantages that organic products have over chemical competitors.
- Comparable application times: Based on the West Virginia University laboratory analysis, our product is comparable in potency to chemical fertilizer. Thus the application time is also comparable, which saves money and labor since there is no need to purchase and apply additional products.
- Recycled: This part of our product has to do with marketing. We are a company that cares about the consumer and the environment. We offer a valuable product, at low cost, that saves landfill space.
As noted earlier, direct competitors are essentially non-existent in the Mid-Atlantic region. Our major indirect competitors are chemical fertilizer manufacturers. However, their products are more costly and do not address the market’s trend toward organic, natural soil enhancers.
Some municipalities have begun composting operations in an attempt to deal with waste disposal issues. They typically use a method in which sludge is placed on the ground in windrows which are turned periodically for aeration. This is an inefficient method of composting primarily because it is slow, taking 90 or more days, which means that availability is uncertain for consumers. Also, in this composting method high enough temperatures are not achieved to kill harmful bacteria and seeds that may sprout into weeds. Additionally, municipalities are not businesses, which means their marketing capabilities are limited. Their market primarily consists of local homeowners and businesses, which ignores the greater market. Also, this composting method requires a lot of ground space which restricts the operation. Finally, odor can be a problem for municipalities due to nearness of local residents or businesses. For these reasons, municipality composting efforts are not considered a competitive threat
The competitive edges we have are summarized as follows.
- Cost: The price of our compost product is much less than chemical fertilizers.
- Organic product: We offer an organic product which is responsive to current market trends. This includes all of the advantages organics offer over chemicals.
- Recycled: Recycled products characterize a "caring company" and are more appealing to the customer’s changing attitude toward organic fertilizer as opposed to chemical fertilizer.
- Elimination of disposal issues: Municipalities now have a waste that takes up landfill space. Our service recycles the waste which saves valuable landfill space.
- More effective between application times: Normal times between applications can range from two to four weeks. Our product lasts for many months, thereby saving the customer time and money (no additional expenditure for more product).
- HUBZone location: Provides advantage in selling to the government.
- SDB and 8(a) certifications: Provide additional advantages in selling to the government.
Keys To Success
Keys to Success
The keys to success in our business are:
- Overcome perception issues that may exist with using compost made from human waste sludge.
- Establish and build relationships and trust with customers to help shield from future competition.
- Expand rapidly to control the market.
- Offer reasonable prices.
- Get investment.