Monday, November 17, 2014

PittMoss Development, LLC Honored For Innovation By PA Recycling Markets Center

The PA Recycling Markets Center, Inc. has awarded PittMoss Development, LLC of Pittsburgh, with the 2014 William M. Heenan, Jr. Recycling Markets Development Award for its commitment to recycling and innovation.
According to company founder and CEO Mont Handley, what began as a kitchen experiment in 1994 grew into a part-time venture, and ultimately, a successful Veteran-owned business that manufactures a sustainable alternative to sphagnum peat moss.
The PittMoss product – a plant-customized, proprietary blend of organic and nutrient additives combined with recycled paper − was created to replace the Canadian sphagnum peat moss imported each year by greenhouses, nurseries and home gardeners.
Handley, who built his first greenhouse when he was twelve, notes that the idea behind PittMoss was born from reports that the extraction of sphagnum peat moss was harming a valuable resource.
“Each year, American gardeners and growers import more than one million tons of sphagnum peat moss from Canada, which is harvested from ditched, drained and degraded peat habitats, or ‘peatlands,’” said Handley. “Those peatlands are found on only three percent of the Earth’s surface, and act as a powerful ecosystem that absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, stores more carbon dioxide than the world’s trees, and provides habitats to unique plants and animals.”
That extraction has both ecological and economic impacts. American consumers use an average of seven to eight pounds of sphagnum peat each year, typically purchased with indoor and outdoor plants from commercial garden centers and nurseries.
“Add to that,” said Handley, “the costs of importing and fuel, chemicals used in the growing process, valuable pulp being disposed, and paper that could otherwise be discarded.”
Handley’s future expectation is that the production of PittMoss will reach up to 1.1 million tons – the amount of peat moss now being imported each year.
In an extension of the existing testing PittMoss has completed, the company is presently working with the RMC in evaluating the product in various blends. The product is now sold primarily in the Mid-Atlantic and Mid-South regions, with an expanding dealer network.
Participating growers have reported fewer weeds and a much lower use of herbicides.
environmental renaissance. We are also proud that PittMoss is working with the RMC to help manage their assistance efforts.”
All production currently takes place in suburban North Huntingdon Township, but a move to Ambridge is planned for early 2015.
“We truly appreciate this award acknowledging our efforts,” said Handley. “PittMoss has been a labor of love from its inception, and it is reassuring to know that our peers in the waste and recycling industries recognize our work. We are proud to be part of a growing trend toward a ‘greener’ planet and a healthy environment. In this case, the newspaper you read today could help grow the food you eat tomorrow!”
“I’m honored to be presenting this award on behalf of my father,” said Sean Heenan. “He shared the same passions as this year’s winner: recycling, the environment, making a difference, and community. One thing he always stressed was that it’s not all about the size of the companies or the numbers achieved, but the people who bring the ideas to life. Congratulations, Mont, and your employees at PittMoss.”
The William M. Heenan, Jr. Recycling Markets Development Award is the only award if its type issued annually in Pennsylvania, and is named in memory of William M. “Bill” Heenan, Jr.
A lifelong international ambassador of the recycling industry, Bill was instrumental in supporting the Department of Environmental Protection to initially vision and fund inception of the RMC. The 2014 recipient was selected by a committee comprised of representatives from across the waste and recycling industries.
For more information, visit the PittMoss Development, LLC and PA Recycling Markets Center, Inc. websites.

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