Date: Saturday, January 13, 2024
AUTHOR: Team Viably

CUSTOMER STORY: SMSC Leads the Way in Organic Waste Recycling

Overhead view of the SMSC Organic Recycling Facility with the words "Cultivating With Purpose" overlaid.

In today’s world, where the importance of responsible waste management is being recognized more than ever, the SMSC Organics Recycling Facility stands as a beacon of progress. Nestled in Shakopee, MN, this Native American-owned composting facility is not just leading the way in organics recycling, but also setting a precedent for environmental stewardship.

Owned and operated by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC), the SMSC Organics Recycling Facility’s mission is to recycle organic materials that would have otherwise ended up in landfills. With a focus on creating nutrient-rich compost for gardening, farming, and landscaping purposes, the facility has turned waste into value.

The SMSC Organics Recycling Facility sprouted from the tribe’s deep-rooted belief in respecting and nurturing Mother Earth. In 2008, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, recognizing the detrimental environmental impact of organic waste piling up in landfills, decided to pioneer a solution. Born out of this dedication to protecting the planet was the SMSC Organics Recycling Facility, a testament to the tribe’s commitment to sustainable practices.

Since its inception, the SMSC Organics Recycling Facility has made an impressive mark in waste management. The facility processes an astounding 70,000 tons of organic waste each year, proof of its operational efficiency and environmental commitment. By recycling organic materials at this scale, the facility not only substantially reduces the volume of waste ending up in landfills but also creates a significant quantity of valuable, nutrient-rich compost, thereby closing the loop in a sustainable manner.

Overcoming Challenges with Strategic Partnerships

Like all pioneering business ventures, the company’s journey to success has not been without challenges. Over the years, the SMSC Organics Recycling Facility has overcome issues related to feedstocks, contamination, and production efficiencies. However, through strategic partnerships with Viably and Hennen Equipment, they have been able to successfully navigate these obstacles.

Over the years, the Viably team, in conjunction with local Komptech dealer Hennen Equipment, has provided crucial technical support and guidance to the SMSC team, supplying essential commercial compost processing equipment solutions. These technologies including a Komptech low-speed, high-torque waste shredder, a Komptech compost windrow turner, and two Komptech Multistar star screen machines. In fact, the SMSC Organics Recycling Facility operates efficiently today with two of the initial Komptech machines purchased through Hennen Equipment. This enduring relationship underscores the importance of reliable partnerships and top-tier equipment in achieving operational efficiency and longevity in the compost and organics recycling industry.

Innovation and Growth: Key to Success

A recent addition to the SMSC Organics Recycling Facility is the Turbo Separator food waste depackaging system manufactured by Scott Equipment Company. This innovative system allows the facility to accept and process pre-consumer food waste containing heavy packaging or contamination-type material, expanding its feedstock options for its commercial composting operations.

Innovation played a key role several years ago when the facility encountered freezing issues in the winter with its Komptech Multistar S3 star screen. They had discovered in the midst of the cold Minnesota winters, steam produced from compost being screened was creating moisture and freezing inside the star screen machine. Dustin and his team got to work with Viably and Hennen Equipment to resolve the issue. They provided feedback to the Komptech equipment manufacturer about the issue, and the SMSC team was pleasantly surprised to see that when they purchased their new Multistar XL3 star screen last year, it came standard with the engineered modifications to prevent the freezing.

Making a Difference: From Landfills to Landscapes

The SMSC Organics Recycling Facility has made significant strides in diverting organics and food waste from landfills and converting it into beneficial compost soil amendments. The compost produced at SMSC is used on the organization’s golf course, tribal farms, and landscape projects within the Shakopee community, closing the recycling loop and ensuring the benefits of their work are enjoyed locally.

Dustin Montey, Assistant Manager at the SMSC Organics Recycling Facility, reflects on the journey: “Being partners with Viably and Hennen Equipment has been great.  I think the future of the facility is to continue to grow and get the organics out of landfills, create that compost as a quality product, and be a reputable and profitable facility.”

Looking ahead to the future of waste management, the SMSC Organics Recycling Facility serves as a powerful example of what can be achieved through innovation, collaboration, and a steadfast commitment to sustainability. Through their work, they are not just changing the narrative around waste but also making a tangible difference in their community and beyond.

For more information on the SMSC Organics Recycling Facility, visit:


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