JTO Inc./ Mentor Recycled: Landscape Materials Recycling, Reinventing, Reinvesting


JTO Inc. celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011, reaffirming its commitment to customers, the environment and to changing with the times. 

The insight and vision of JTO Inc.’s founder Jerome T. Osborne, Jr. (1944-1992) took the company from the meager beginnings of a two-man tree service and transformed it into the diversified corporation it is today, offering services ranging from property sales and leasing, design/build, construction management, general contracting, site development, excavation, utility line installation … to land clearing, and material recycling and sales, with most of Lake County’s waste material coming to the facility. Today, Osborne’s son—Jerome T. “Ossie” Osborne, III—continues in his father’s footsteps as president and CEO. 

Ossie and his father both believed the key to success is innovation, including the implementation of state-of-the-art equipment whenever possible. This strategy has been instrumental in the development of Mentor Recycled Landscape Materials Division (MRLM), operational since 1996. Osborne is also a firm believer in helping to protect and restore our environment. MRLM does this by taking only what it needs from “Mother Earth,” and then giving back. The division is now in a healthy growth mode. “I have probably invested $2 million in equipment over the last five years for green waste recycling,” said Osborne.

The recycling facility depends on an array of MorbarkMcCloskey and Komatsu equipment to produce its mulch and topsoil. The company recently purchased a new Morbark 3800XL tracked machine to serve as its primary grinder. “Before that, we used a Morbark 4600XL grinder, and before that we had tub grinders from Morbark,” said Mark Clark, vice president of products and services for JTO. “Our woodstream includes logs and wood brush, so the horizontal grinders work best for us. We do a double shred so we use multiple screens. The Morbark lets us change screens easily.”

He is particularly impressed with the mobility the new Morbark provides. “We can easily move the 3800XL around the site, and that will save us set-up time. I’m always looking for ways to save time and money, and I really think this machine will do that for us. On our site, we have different types of wood in different piles. Before, we had to hook up a truck and tow the grinder over there, but with the new 3800, we have a remote control and can move it wherever we need to set up. The more hours you save, the more money you save. Efficiency is key to delivering value to our customers.”

Additionally, Clark believes the 3800XL’s newer technology (both engine and software) will result in more efficient operation. “The new engine will help us run more efficiently, based on the demo we ran with the machine,” he said.

MRLM uses McCloskey Trommel screens to screen mulch and topsoil to meet specifications. One 621 unit is used for mulch and a second one for composting material; a larger 628 handles topsoil. MRLM switched to McCloskey screeners about six years ago and has had great success with them, Clark noted. “McCloskeys are great machines. They have a great fuel advantage to them, they produce a nice product, and they are really strong at handling material with high moisture content.” Other brands the company used had problems with moist material.

“There’s been little need for maintenance and repair on them over the years. We’ve just had to replace the typical wear parts,” Clark said.

JTO has been a Columbus Equipment customer for decades, because the construction division runs Komatsu equipment. “Columbus Equipment offers great support. That has always been the plus factor, whether we are buying Komatsu, Morbark or McCloskey equipment. You’re getting a good machine and you’re getting great support behind it. They are always there for us, and they are very knowledgeable about the machines,” Clark said.

MRLM is located on a former landfill site behind the JTO offices. Osborne saw an opportunity to create the recycling division, and it grew substantially when the state started diverting wood waste from landfills.

“When we originally started, our main objective was to sell to landscapers as a supply business, but we’ve evolved into retail as well,” Osborne said. “We handle 80,000 to 100,000 yards of material a year. I feel like we’re giving something back to Mother Nature, and to the community, by doing this.”

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