Vital Earth GB Ltd

Tel: 01335300355
Vital Earth GB Ltd

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Vital Earth GB Ltd
Blenheim Road
Airfield Industrial Estate
Ashbourne, Derbyshire
United Kingdom

Tel: 01335300355
Fax: 01335346100

About Vital Earth GB Ltd


Vital Earth recycles around 97,000 tonnes of green waste per year at its plant at Ashbourne, Derbyshire. Unlike many recycling facilities however, Vital Earth was conceived as a commercial producer of saleable compost and fertiliser products first and as a waste management operator second, so its innovative process and ongoing investment (£12 million in the last four years) is down to the needs of the gardening market and to the rapidly increasing demand for environmentally-friendly peat-free growing media.

In fact, thanks to this increasing demand in both retail and commercial gardening, plus the commitment of local authorities to environmentally-friendly disposal of green and kitchen waste to lessen the impact of landfill, the Ashbourne facility is now the largest and most advanced in-vessel composting site in the UK.

In the last two years, Vital Earth has brought ten new specialist composts and two fertilisers to the retail market, plus three new ranges to the commercial market. This expansion has driven developments in technology and machinery, including unique innovations bespoke (and patented by) Vital Earth. Vital Earth has taken on additional waste disposal contracts, increased the size of its reception shed to accommodate the increased tonnage. It has also installed a new picking line and pre-picking line, increased the number of its composting vessels and added a bagging line, a batching line and a more sophisticated screening system to ensure delivery of all the different grades and mixes of product required by the market, all clean and fit for purpose.

The Vital Earth concept is about the efficient use of green and food ‘waste’ that would otherwise be consigned to landfill. The primary raw materials – green and food waste from kerbside refuse collections and household waste from over 300,000 homes in Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Shropshire - are brought to the plant by the relevant local authorities. The operational process, in which technology and nature combine, is in-vessel and under cover – not open windrow – giving the ultimate in efficient composting conditions. With the contents protected from the elements, the naturally produced heat can be regulated as can the moisture content, to produce a thoroughly consistent, thoroughly sanitised and stable product with no risk of contamination, odour or leaching. The maturation sheds, where product matures and is graded ready for sale, are under cover and protected from the elements and from external product contamination. Temperature, moisture and air content are monitored and adjusted automatically by a sophisticated computer controlled system, designed by Vital Earth personnel.

The process produces a viable product with no peat content and contributes to the achievement of Government targets on the overall reduction of peat usage. Not surprisingly, the company’s environmental credentials have already won it a number of green awards. These have included, Green Apples and Green Hero, Green Business awards, best environmental product and best retail product prizes and a marketing award from the composting industry. Two of Vital Earth’s retail products – multipurpose and tub & basket - have been cited as Best Buys by Which? Gardening proving for the first time that peat can be truly replaced by a peat-free alternative and indeed outperformed by one. There is also a Garden Industry Manufacturers Association (GIMA) Award for the Best Suppliers Information Website for the Vital Earth site, and judges from Rolls Royce and Toyota presented Vital Earth with both the Innovation in Technology Award and the Environmental Award in the Derbyshire Business Awards Derbyshire 2010.

Vital Earth is not just about winning awards, however. Its products are tremendously successful – for retailers and for gardeners. Recognised as best new product several times over in 2009/10, Vital Earth’s innovative Chicken Poo TM fertiliser is made from natural recycled chicken manure sourced entirely from British free range hens. Designed in house and tested in consumer focus groups, Chicken Poo TM’s striking name and colourful ‘happy hens’ packaging has proved extremely motivating to consumers and the product is running at 1000% over budgeted sales!! It comes in 7Kg tubs and retails at £7.99 and it’s now one of the top sellers in the category. Vital Earth has also launched the first ever feed to be made from recycled garden waste. Called Vitalizer, it takes the ‘go green’ message into a new area of retail display. It has been created in house and extensively researched both as a concept and in terms of presentation, via consumer focus groups. Not surprisingly the name proved a real motivator and the environmental provenance and successful professional grower trials will make it another top seller. It’s presented in a 6Kg tub for easy use and storage, with bright, quirky, vigorous graphics.

So, not only is Vital Earth a successful and innovative recycling company, it has really livened up the compost market. Bright, cheerful, informative packaging and marketing materials demonstrate to consumers what the company calls its virtuous circle. That circle involves everyone who makes the process possible, from the green gardeners who supply our raw materials, to the Vital Earth retailers who sell our products and back again to the greener gardeners and their productive, wildlife-friendly gardens.

With commercial impetus backing ethical impulse, the initiatives at Vital Earth are ongoing, including pioneering research into the potential for recycling a variety of materials and the best methods for so doing. Due to exemplary traceability, Vital Earth attained EN ISO 9001:2000 and BS EN ISO 14001:2004, the worldwide benchmarks for quality and environmental management. Only around 5% of UK businesses hold these certificates.

The Carbon Trust concluded that Vital Earth’s status provided a very high benchmark and recommended only three improvements that would further reduce emissions. All recommendations were implemented with a few months of the survey. The company is actively engaged in carbon footprint assessment and reduction with initiatives including the use of eco-fuels and the use of solar panels and wind turbines. Vital Earth aims to be carbon neutral by 2012.

For further information, pictures or samples, contact:
Kate Newton,
01889 598600

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