Heading for the 2018 CRA conference this weekend?


Noel Lyons


Sean Fallon


Gary Gittere


Kate Sullivan


Members of Team McGill are packing up for next week’s 2018 Carolinas Recycling Association (CRA) Conference, March 19-22 in Cherokee, NC.  Representing McGill Environmental Systems will be Noel Lyons, president; Sean Fallon, business development manager for intake;  Gary Gittere, sales and marketing manager for compost sales, and Kate Sullivan, compost sales rep.  Come meet some of the folks known as The Compost People®.  Flag ’em down in the hall, tag someone after a session or simply visit the McGill booth and say “Howdy!”

McGill offers CEUs for industry groups


Transplant shock: would compost make a difference?


Transplanting can be a tricky business.  Whether moving from a greenhouse or a personal garden, plants do not care for the experience, and transplanting can sometimes trigger a disastrous response from the plant.  When the stress or damage received in the transplanting process is too much for the plant, transplant shock may result.  The plant either wins the struggle to adapt to its new home or dies. Different species and varieties of plants can handle transplanting better than others, but the threat is always present.

Usually, transplant shock can be caused by a failure to allow the plant enough time to acclimate to a new temperature. This is especially true if the plant has been raised in a protected condition such as a greenhouse. Another cause is when the roots of the plant have disturbed too much during transplant. Other factors that can make a difference include the weather conditions during the process, and the treatment the plant receives shortly after transplant.

Compost is an effective way to combat transplant shock, as the mechanisms of compost work well to help make the process go smoothly. Unlike fertilizers, compost requires fewer applications and will last longer keeping the soil healthy. The additional nutrients will also help the plant acclimate to its new home and lower stress levels. Reducing the amount of stress a plant experiences is paramount to a good transplant.

Immature/unstable composts can increase difficulties for transplants, so be sure to choose a quality, stable compost product like McGill SoilBuilder, especially if planting under plastic.

Amending soil with compost builds soil organic matter (SOM) and replenishes soil microbial populations.  Both help all types of plants –from vegetables to trees — to not only survive the “shocking” indignities of transplanting, but thrive throughout the season.

Read more about transplant shock and compost:





Amended attitude: commit to soil health


Read it.  Amended attitude: a new commitment to soil health using compost, written by Gary Gittere and recently published by SportsTurf Magazine.

International Compost Awareness Week poster 2017

ICAW – May 7-13, 2017

The International Compost Awareness Week poster for 2017 has been revealed.  Congratulations to the 2017 ICAW winning designer Ursula Gutowski from Niles, IL.

This year, the event runs May 7-13.

Green industry resellers and retailers can take advantage of Earth Day momentum by extending special compost-related promotions and educational events through mid-May.

Customers can contact their McGill sales reps for information about ordering copies of the poster for Earth Day or ICAW promotions.  We will consider requests for other types of promotional support (speakers, display materials, etc.), as well.

Not in a region served by a McGill composting facility? Keep up with the latest on the U.S. Composting Council’s  website or this Facebook page.


Cre recognizes McGill’s 25 years


Cre recognizes McGill's 25 yearsOur thanks and warmest regards go out to Cre, the Composting Association of Ireland, for recognizing McGill for its 25 years in the composting industry.

A brief history of the company is featured in Cre’s December 2016 issue. McGill’s “cover guys” are Noel Lyons (left),  company co-founder and chairman of McGill-Ireland, and Niall Carroll, partner and manager of the McGill companies in Ireland.

In Ireland, McGill owns and operates the McGill-Glenville facility in County Cork and Molaisin Compost in County Waterford, plus 3 other composting facilities in the U.S.

All are indoor, industrial-scale operations.  McGill has also designed similar facilities for other composting companies.

Read the article



Is compostable the same as recyclable?


According to Merriam-Webster,  recycling makes something new from something that was used before.  Most often, materials like metals, plastics and glass spring to mind when itemizing recyclables.  But using this broad definition, is compostable the same as recyclable?

Wasted organics (something used before)  are used as raw materials in the manufacture of soil amendment products (something new).  Generally speaking, the answer is “yes.”

But there are some exceptions:

Many “compostable” plastics can’t be recycled — yet

One exception would be plastics stamped with the #7 PLA code.  This is the recycling code for biodegradable resins.   Unfortunately, #7 is a catch-all code that also includes non-compostable resins,  so isn’t very helpful to consumers trying to sort for recycling.

Unless a #7 discard is also stamped “compostable,”  it may not be suitable for the composting bin.  Even then, many communities lack a local composting operation that uses a process that can handle bio-plastics.

But #7 compostables may not be appropriate for the traditional plastics bin, either.  Some communities are unable to separate it from traditionally recycled plastics and place #7s on the no-no list along with styrofoam and other undesirables.

Also, be aware that there are different ASTM standards for compostable (D6400) and biodegradable (D6868) plastics.  The two terms are not interchangeable in the world of recycling.

To learn more, the U.S. Composting Council has published a primer on these types of plastics, which you can access here.  Those producing products marketed in compostable packaging may also want to review this compostability claims checklist from the The Plastics Industry Trade Association (SPI) Bioplastics Division.

Bottom line?  Check with your local recycling coordinator for specific requirements in your area.  Typically, to recycle #7 compostables, a community must be served by a modern composting operation using a high-rate process that will break down these types of resins.

If not, then #7 discards may not recycle as either plastics or organics.


Bioremediation is a treatment method for organic compounds.  Composting is a process that can be modified and employed as a biotechnology to treat/remediate contaminated substances (typically, soil and water) to neutralize toxins.

During treatment, the feeding activity of microbial populations degrade target compounds by breaking the bonds of complex molecules.  Over time, the target compounds continually reduce in complexity as contaminants degrade into simple — and safe — compounds, like H20 and carbon.

Often, the treated soil and/or water are either excavated/extracted and  remediated on-site (returned to the point of  extraction after treatment)  or treated in place (in-situ).  In such cases,  there really isn’t a “something new” created from the old.   It’s just cleaned and used again, like doing laundry — wear, wash, wear again.   Reuse is good, but it’s not recycling.

However, if the treated soil is mixed 50/50 with compost to make an engineered topsoil, then one could make the case for recycling, since a new product (manufactured topsoil) was made from the contaminated soil … even if it is used at the same site.


Blog – Is “biodegradable plastic” compostable plastic?

From the ASTM D20.95 subcommittee – active standards on recycled plastic