July 2014 marks the 10 year anniversary of a joint partnership for soil manufacturing between Green-tree, the soil division of Green-tech and Yorkshire Water.
Green-tree was born from a chance meeting between Green-tech owner and Chairman, Richard Kay and representatives from Yorkshire Water at the Great Yorkshire show over a decade ago. Richard had a revolutionary idea that he could produce high quality soil using sludge derived materials. Yorkshire Water saw the benefit as a positive way of getting rid of their waste products and the start of a highly successful business venture was formed.
Today, the growth of the Green-tree business has far exceeded expectations with 15 operational soil manufacturing units throughout the UK. Green-tree is recognised as an environmentally sound product and has been specified for many major construction and landscaping developments across the country, including The Olympic Park Legacy.
Ten years ago the idea to produce soil from waste products was in its infancy – an idea that needed a lot of research and development. Initial desk top trials were carried out and then rolled out to field scale trials under the stewardship of Tim O’Hare (Tim O’Hare associates), a leading UK soil scientist selected to assist in bringing the theory to reality.
A process known as Sludge Phyto Conditioning was developed into a protocol which is approved by the Environment Agency; this produces a product that is used to manufacture Topsoil.
The first soil manufacturing plant was in Dewbury, West Yorkshire. Volumes rose dramatically in the first two years and a further plant was opened in Esholt in 2007 to support the growing demand.
In 2008 30,000 tonnes of Green-tree topsoil was used in the Wath Manvers regeneration project for Rotherham council. This led to Green-tree being awarded the prestigious Green Apple award for Environmental benefits and demand increasing sharply again. Today around 160,000 tonnes of soil are produced across the 15 sites.
Green-tree Business Manager Mark Wood comments
“The relationship we have with Yorkshire Water has been instrumental in the growth of Green-tree. We now produce a number of different soils to meet the market needs. We have a re-order rate of 95% and can offer consistency of quality and year-round national availability. Throughout 2014 we’ll be opening 4 new production sites. It’s a great success story and we’re really looking forward to the next 10 years”
Jamie Gray, Commercial Products Coordinator, from Yorkshire Water said
“Our long running association with Green-Tech has been a great success. Without input and expertise from Green-tech it is unlikely we would have managed to get this product to market. The process and the product is market leading in the industry and was a significant step forward for Yorkshire Water in the diversification and recycling of sludge based products….”