January 9, 2015
Living Earth Featured in BioCycle Magazine
BioCycle January 2015, Vol. 56, No. 1, p. 28
Mark Rose’s “career” in organics recycling started at age 13 when he had a job attaching empty bags to a bagging machine at a soil products company in Austin, Texas. “I’ve been in this business ever since,” he notes, “including managing the company where I worked as a kid.” Today, Rose is President and CEO of The LETCO Group LLC, which does business as Living Earth™, a Dallas-based composting and mulch production company with 18 processing facilities that include retail yards located in the Dallas-Ft. Worth region and Houston, and 3 stand-alone retail yards.
All together, Living Earth processes over 700,000 tons/year of yard trimmings, brush, preconsumer vegetative food discards, untreated wood wastes, stable bedding and herbivore manure. It composts the yard trimmings, manure and food scraps in large static piles. Brush and tree trimmings are processed separately into mulch. All Living Earth recycling facilities are open to the public and commercial businesses such as landscapers. In addition, the company has contracts with several municipalities to process curbside-collected brush and yard trimmings.
Living Earth opened its first organics recycling facility in 1985. Rose was one of the owners of the original company. In 1990, Republic Services — then a “little, little” company, notes Rose — purchased four companies in Texas, including Living Earth. “I then worked for Republic for 17 years,” he says. “Composting sites were opened at three landfills — one in Houston and two in Dallas-Forth Worth. Overtime, we had a mission to grow the company’s organics recycling infrastructure in the region. Our strategy was to develop conveniently located ‘in-field’ facilities that are in the city and accessible to our landscape customer base and various solid waste haulers, as well as our retail yard customers.”
In 2007, when Republic Services was preparing to merge with Allied Waste, Republic determined that Living Earth was a “noncore company” and decided to sell it. Rose joined with other Living Earth managers and an investment group to purchase the company, which today has 210 employees.