Putting wood to good reuse
By NANCY TULLIS
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
COLUMBIANA -- Give them your construction scraps, your tree stumps and that woodpile taking on a life of its own behind your house.
Rick Haldiman and Randy Moore will make mulch of them.
Haldiman and Moore are owners of R & amp; R Land Clearing at 46486 state Route 14.
Since they started the company two years ago, the bulk of their work has been gradually shifting from land clearing to mulching and composting wood waste.
Haldiman and Moore are hoping to make the recycling end of the business their only business. That means changing people's mindset about wood waste disposal.
Haldiman said he and Moore take wood scraps from new construction, wood pallets, tree limbs, stumps and brush and make mulch. They can take leaves and grass clippings and compost them into topsoil and the soft dirt used in playgrounds.
Haldiman said if the two could persuade homeowners and business and industry people to recycle wood waste instead of burning it or just "throwing it over a hill somewhere," they could spend eight hours a day, six days a week composting and grinding.
Haldiman added that landfills will not accept wood waste, so people either dump it in places such as strip mine cuts or burn it. He said although the latter is prohibited by law, law enforcement officials say they don't have enough staff to adequately enforce the burning ban.
Homeowners can bring tree limbs and branches, brush and grass clippings to be recycled for $5 for a pickup-truck-sized load.
Haldiman said they hope to contract with area waste hauling companies to provide separate bins for wood waste in the communities they service.
They also are trying to persuade municipal leaders in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia to bring to them the wood and yard waste they collect.
Columbiana is one municipality that needs no persuading.
City Manager Keith Chamberlin said the city contracted with R & amp; R last year and crews have been taking the leaves and branches there that are collected by street crews.
"We've been really pleased with the work they do," Chamberlin said. "I think it's great to be able to recycle."
He said the city not only has leaf pickup days on a rotating schedule in the fall, but also a branch pickup monthly except during the winter months.
Chamberlin said previously city crews dumped wood waste on city-owned vacant land.
Both Haldiman and Moore are from East Palestine. They say it was mulch that brought them together as business partners.
Shift in focus
Haldiman was an excavator and Moore was in the hardware business. Gradually, Haldiman's excavating work shifted to land clearing and the need for a way to dispose of the wood waste.
Moore switched from hardware to excavating, then land clearing, working with Haldiman. He said when he was working in hardware, mulch was his biggest-selling item.
Both credit the Columbiana County Career and Technical Center staff for helping them navigate the ins and outs, and ups and downs of small business.
Moore is a graduate of the career center's diesel mechanics program, and both have taken small-business courses there.
They said instructors continue to take time to answer their questions, even as the instructors are handling the day-to-day operation of their own small businesses. The career center staff helped the duo obtain a small-business loan to buy equipment and sent office secretary Debbie Ostrander their way.