Dean Turner: On organically growing a waste business

Quick Chat

You know you’re on to a good thing when the line’s out the door and the creator of your product almost wishes theyd waited to sell it.

Dean Turner of Enrich360 chats with The Green List about how to grow an organics recycling business in the wake of a waste expo.

Hi, Dean.


So just quickly, what is Enrich360’s elevator pitch?

Enrich360 provides an onsite recycling solution for food waste in the form of a silent and odourless machine that turns organics into fertiliser and water in under 24 hours (under 6 hours for our smaller machines). But it’s more than just the machines.

We also work with people so they better understand the food waste hierarchy: avoid it, reuse it where you can, then the third option is to recycle – which is where we come in.

Awesome, now tell me. How was the Waste Expo last week?

Yeah, it was really excellent! We were extremely busy – could barely keep up. I guess processing organics is very topical.

Actually, it’s just phenomenal really – and it’s not only from what we initially started targeting with restaurants. It’s every part of the food chain, every state, every business, from governments, state governments, all the different levels of government is interested, every size of business, from those opening their first outlet, to businesses that have hundreds of outlets. And all over Australia, from CBD office locations to mining camps, hospitals to boarding schools – just all over the place.

Tell me about the machine itself, what’s the story there?

It was developed by a guy from Sydney eight years ago, and… [laughs]. Actually he said to me recently, he said “I think I developed this technology eight years too early.”

Why’s that?

The uptake. He said now’s the time – now people are actually interested. Now they want it, they see the benefits in it, the reason for it being created. Not back then.

And you can feel that spike in uptake?

Yeah, sure. Initially the sales just went along reasonably slowly, but recently it’s turning exponential. To the point where we’ve recently appointed a business development manager to work along side the existing people, bringing new customers onboard.

An exciting time to be in the waste and recycling industry?

It really is.

And you’re more than a composting appliance company by the sound of it.

Absolutely. At this point we’re also providing a collection service that collates a number of food waste streams to be used by farmers or composters. The potential for the future is we can actually track that produce as it comes out of the farms and then get that back to the people who contribute the food waste to make the fertiliser in the first place.

What about into the more residential or consumer spheres? Could someone have a small machine on their kitchen counter one day?

Yeah, absolutely. We’re actually talking to a number of multi unit dwelling type environments at the moment – like high rise apartments and retirement villages.

Just recently a complex with 85 houses and 140 residents signed on – and the output from that machine will be collected by the council as part of the FOGO [Food Organics Garden Organics] program.

And looking further into the future, what do you see on the horizon?

There’s certainly a lot of interest in waste at the moment. It would be wonderful if one day there was legislation similar to what has recently been introduced with the e-waste to landfill ban, actually banning food waste from landfill from commercial premises over a certain size.

Obviously that would mean our business would grow significantly, but more importantly it would see a massive reduction in green house gasses, you know. If anyone who produces more than 100kilgrams of food waste per day in a commercial setting was made to avoid sending that to landfill – that would be a very good place to start.

Do you see that happening any time soon?

Well, there are countries and cities and areas in the world that have already done that.

Of course no country or city or area can do it on their own – because while they’re reducing their green house gas emissions we’re still creating them many times over in Australia.

And if we can get some good fertiliser out of it as well, no harm there.


Although if you talk to the NSW EPA, the fertiliser is not currently approved for [for crops] in NSW.

What’s the hurdle there?

They just need to know exactly what’s in it before they’ll allow it to be used in NSW.

So because it varies from batch to batch?

Yes, so what we need to do is undergo a number of tests so really we’re focused at this stage on growing the business outside of NSW after that hurdle.

And it’s just NSW that presents that hurdle?

Yes, only place in the world.

Why so strict?

They’ve got some pretty strict standards in NSW, much higher than other states and other parts of the world. So yeah, just have to go through a process which we expect to go through over the next three months before we’ll be good to land-apply from early next year, hopefully.

And what are you doing after this interview?

[Laughs] Well, I’ll be carrying on following up leads from the Waste Expo, and then preparing to head off to the next event – not presenting this time, just learning. Always learning.

Read Enrich360’s profile for more information.