If you’re not currently producing colored mulch, now may be the time to start. Market forces, consumer preferences and advances in mulch coloring equipment have all combined to create new opportunities for commercial and residential colored mulch. Here’s a look at why pallet companies, sawmills and mulch producers should consider adding colored mulch to their product lines.
The impact of COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted nearly every aspect of life and business worldwide, and the mulch industry was no exception. But where supply chain disruptions and restrictions on movement crippled other industries, the pandemic actually represented something of a boon for mulch producers.
As people spent more time living, working and studying at home, many felt the need to make improvements that would make their surroundings more enjoyable. One study from Harvard suggests roughly 80% of homeowners started at least one DIY project in 2020. A significant portion of these projects were focused on beautifying the outside of the home, creating skyrocketing demand for landscaping services and products, including colored mulch. According to Pallet Enterprise, many mulch producers posted record years in 2020 and the trend appears likely to continue as more companies adopt hybrid work models for employees.
At the same time, record high lumber prices, followed by a subsequent dip, have created dynamic conditions for those in the forest products industry. Using scraps and green waste to create colored mulch can be the new revenue stream companies need to sustain profits through market volatility and take advantage of current consumer preferences.
New equipment creates new opportunities
One of the biggest barriers to entry for launching a new line of colored mulch is equipment. Mulch grinding and coloring equipment represents a significant investment. So, it’s important to consider what type of equipment is right for your operation. Thankfully, advances in technology and equipment design have made it easier to achieve the scale, efficiency and ease of use that producers need to launch a profitable operation.
Producing a few cubic yards or a few bags of colored mulch for retail isn’t likely to move the needle for your company. To justify the investment in equipment, marketing, sales and training required to make a colored mulch offering profitable, producers need to be able to scale production. That’s where the new ColorTrom 400 from ChromaScape comes in.
This innovative machine can color up to 400 cubic yards of mulch per hour, enabling the kind of high-volume production rates mulch producers need to be successful. The hopper holds up to 20 cubic yards of material and a conveyor belt continuously moves product through to the coloring trommel. A thoughtful new design also eliminated many of the moving parts that often break in other machines. Altogether, these innovations help minimize downtime and enable the kind of consistent, high-volume production that leads to profits.
Every mulch producer knows that water represents a major cost. Whether it’s the water used to color mulch, or just the water content in the mulch itself which can add weight and drive up transportation costs, water usage is a major challenge to profitability. But new innovations make it easy to control water application rates and control costs.
For example, the Marksman technology used in the ColorTrom 400 can automatically control both colorant and water usage rates. You simply input parameters based on your desired color consistency and hue, and the Marksman automatically adjusts application rates to achieve a consistent finished product. This also allows you to use the least amount of water and colorant while still achieving the desired coloration. By limiting waste and using a Spitfire Pump Injection System to save $1 per yard in production costs, you can start out of the gate with an efficient colored mulch operation that maximizes profitability.
Ease of use
When starting a new colored mulch program, another barrier to entry can be the time and effort needed to train employees. Teaching employees how to properly feed and operate the equipment, accurately calibrate system settings and follow standard safety protocols can be time consuming and costly. But here again new equipment designed for easy use can help eliminate those barriers and allow you to get up and running faster.
With Marksman technology, employees don’t need to continuously calibrate the system and perform the calculations needed to ensure consistent end production. You set it up once and then the equipment takes care of the rest. The Marksman also provides detailed production data so managers and business owners can keep a close eye on the operation and control costs.
The opportunity is there; go get it
Colored mulch can be a lucrative offering for any mulch producer, sawmill or pallet company that has the foresight and execution to get it right. Thankfully, new equipment innovations have made it easier than ever to take advantage of today’s favorable market conditions. By making the right investments and partnering with an experienced mulch equipment and colorant supplier, you can add a new revenue stream to your organization and start selling premium colored mulch today.
Looking for the best mulch colorant and coloring equipment to start up your colored mulch operation? Contact ChromaScape today or request a sample of our premium mulch colorant to see why our products, expertise and service are tops in the industry.