Two Million Pounds of Starch

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It’s a typical day at Eco Partners when the phone rings “and somebody says, ‘Tim, I’ve got two million pounds of this material. Can you help us out?'”

That specific call, just before the holiday season last year, was about “two million pounds of starch,” Eco Partners owner Tim Cole says.

He instantly knew what this starch was — out-of-date processed corn.

We’ll protect the company’s identity from public embarrassment over letting material go to waste. These things happen. It could simply be “finished starch product that became out-of-date, or the customer bought it and then found they bought more than they needed… It’s just bad inventory, and they need the floor space,” Cole says.

In the past, “you get rid of it,” Cole says. Which means, you haul it somewhere and dump it. Corn might not be as polluting as xylene or more-toxic substances, but two million pounds is a ridiculous amount of waste to lay out on a landfill.

“If you were to visualize the activities at a landfill in a day, it just blows your mind,” he adds.

“So we turned it into ethanol,” Cole says. “In two months, we got rid of it all.” Typically, Eco Partners will take care of such a job more-quickly, but, “it was the holidays.”

One of the top services of Eco Partners has become the recycle/reuse of food manufacturing byproducts. “Right now, more than ever, we’re doing a lot of work in organics, and in converting organics into soil amendment, or turning it into energy, largely through anaerobic digestion,” Cole says.

So, instead of rotting in a landfill, many millions of pounds of wastes have been turned into ethanol and other useful products, thanks to Eco Partners.

“We move a lot of starch, a lot of starch,” Cole adds.