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Masterton fires up massive mulcher

Earthcare’s massive new mulcher easily turns tree trunks into compost. PHOTOS/ CAL ROBERTS

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A massive new mulcher capable of turning “tree trunks into matchsticks” is ploughing through green waste at Masterton’s recycle and transfer station.

The 24-tonne mulcher is the only one of its kind in the country and cost Masterton District Council contractor Earthcare $500,000.

Earthcare managing director Mike Jones said it was the most economic purchase.

“There are no real options for us to go down the scale.”

Mulchers in a lower price band simply would not cut it, and a large-scale machine was needed to get through the thickest trunks and other material the region tossed into it.

“It’s quite an expensive bit of kit, but it will help us to produce much better compost.”

It would help reduce processing time from about nine months to about three.

Despite its size and weight, the mulcher is portable. It will be moved between transfer stations to take care of green waste across the region.

The council’s assets and operations manager, David Hopman, said the new mulcher was going to help minimise landfill.

“[Earthcare] used to have a much smaller shredder but some of the branch sizes were a challenge for it.

“So this [bigger mulcher] was part of the new contract.”

Mr Hopman said the mulcher was one of council’s strategies to reduce waste to landfill.

“We need to be able to process green waste effectively and in a way that we can sell it to get value for it.”

The green waste was churned into compost which could then be sold.

He encouraged people to separate green waste from general rubbish.

For the health and safety of workers, the mulcher was remotely operated.

The machine was expected to last for up to 15 years before a replacement was needed.


  1. Anything thicker than my finger is firewood or kindling to me. Maybe the branches that challenged the smaller chipper could’ve become firewood too…..

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