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Growing the Jones Empire

Local forest and haulage company, Jones Group, have recently opened a fourth branch of their business – Jones Wood Based Products & Recycling – with a goal of activating regional jobs and creating a circular economy with their new innovative mulch products created from North Queensland timber plantations and timber waste.

Owners Luke and Belinda Jones have spent the last six months upcycling urban waste into value-add mulch products for the garden industry, which is helping to reduce the cost of waste disposal and enable them to offer a complete forestry solution to their clients.

“Our background is in forest harvesting and we saw a gap in the market to repurpose the various green and timber waste that is often left over,” explains Luke, who also manages three other additional businesses under the Jones Group umbrella, which employs a total of 22 people.

“We bring mouldable products into our yard including wood chips, waste from local mills, green waste and tree cuttings and we grind them with our machinery and value-add to create various mulches and different products.

“We create around six different products from the waste to supply to other markets in the region.”

Both Luke and Belinda have a goal to grow the wholesale space in the garden industry; a market that is relatively untouched in North Queensland. However, the couple are well on their way to achieving this after securing a 12-month contract with local gardening company Ki-Carma, which has seen their products be stocked in various outlets including Bunnings.

The company also supplies their products to Harvest Solutions, who are making hummisoil for the agricultural industry and Townsville City Council, where their mulch is being used on the banks of Bluewater River and Ross River for weed control as part of the reef rehabilitation scheme.

“There is so much value in collaboration. The goal is to not compete with other businesses in the industry, but rather we want to supply wholesale to them,” continues Luke.

“We want to be that bulk wholesaler of mouldable products and supply to local landscapers and other gardening businesses so they can build off it and solve the issues they may encounter when sourcing the product.

“If you can generate something out of waste that people can use as a base and then value add to, then it assists everyone in achieving their goal.”

Last year, Jones Group acquired land next to local hardwood and agricultural recycling facility, Qplas, which has seen them collaborate to develop solutions to the waste from African mahogany tree plantations and additional plantation timber waste.

As their product volume increases, Luke and Belinda say their waste timber has the ability to fuel North Queensland’s hydrogen hub, power the sugar mills and grind waste from various construction sites, all of which can be repurposed and sold back to the same industry it was extracted from.

“Thanks to our forestry business, we have access to a lot of volume and resources,” continues Luke.

“Our timber waste will be able to generate hydrogen for the new hub. The ability and capacity are all there as we expand, develop and grow.

“We are proud to play a role in helping our region become more economically and environmentally sustainable.”

BY GEORGIE DESAILLY.

Photography credit: Phil Copp Photos.

Georgie Desailly

Georgie Desailly

Georgie is BDmag’s resident writer who is passionate about entrepreneurship, sustainability and regional affairs. She is preparing to study with The School of The New York Times later this year before commencing her journalism qualifications.