Two things livestock owners are often known for are their creative engineering when it comes to solving problems on the farm and ranch and, second, their tight-fisted ways when it comes to spending money.
That's why different byproducts and waste from other non-agricultural industries can be used in solving all kinds of problems at a significant cost savings to buying new products that do the same thing.
“Farmers and ranchers are some of the most creative people I know when it comes to solving problems with whatever materials are at hand,” said Damon Carson, founder of repurposedMATERIALS. “That’s why I think the ag market is so receptive to these byproducts of industry that we offer. Our materials are versatile and generic enough that they can be repurposed in all kinds of useful ways. Our customers prove every single day that good ‘ole American ingenuity is alive and well.”
What is repurposing? This company defines it as “reusing assets that have value ‘as is’ to a second, unrelated industry.”
Actually, repurposing has been going on in the livestock business for decades. Two longtime examples are utilizing railroad ties as posts and oilfield pipe as fencing. This generations-old concept is now being taken a bit further by providing more and different byproducts to the agriculture industry for innovative repurposing.
- Scrap conveyor belting gets repurposed as flooring, walls for crowding pens and windbreaks.
- Used rubber roofing membrane gets repurposed as pond liners and roofing material for out-buildings.
- Retired advertising billboards get repurposed as hay and equipment tarps.
- Old street sweeper brushes get repurposed as back scratchers for livestock.
- Decommissioned climbing ropes get repurposed as general-purpose ropes.
- Emptied 275 gal. totes get repurposed as waste oil collectors, mobile fire fighting units, waters tanks, etc.
“What I really love is that repurposing is just so practical. We can often save folks 50-75% over the cost of buying new when we can find byproducts coming out of other industries that can get a second life when they solve problems in their own industry. So, what makes so much sense economically makes just as much sense environmentally because we’re keeping this stuff out of the landfill.”
This is actually Carson’s second foray into the waste stream of America, albeit with a very different and unique business model. Several years back, he sold a garbage company that he had co-owned in the Colorado ski resorts – Vail, Breckenridge, etc. – to Waste Management.
Carson is always interested to learn about other uses for various products. In fact, he readily admits that most of his repurposing ideas are not his own but, rather, ideas that customers have shared with him.