Green Energy Biofuel recognized for growth, positive work environment
Green Energy Biofuel, a fast-growing multiservice waste-recycling company based in South Carolina, has won several awards this year in recognition of its numerous accomplishments, growth and employee care. The company collects used cooking oil (UCO) and other food-industry waste, including solid organics, and processes the material into a clean feedstock for biofuel producers to use in manufacturing biodiesel and renewable diesel. Green Energy Biofuel’s sister company, ReSoil Compost, converts solid-organic waste into high-quality, nutrient-rich soil amendment for commercial sale.
At SC Biz News’ Roaring Twenties award ceremony Oct. 6 in Columbia, Green Energy Biofuel won the most sought-after recognition in its category: the No. 1 High-Growth Small Company. According to SC Biz News, honorees underwent an analysis of financial statements, which determined dollar and percentage increase in revenues. Company size was based on annual gross revenue, with small companies grossing $10 million and under, and large ones more than $10 million. Each category ranked 20 businesses, with Green Energy Biofuel taking first place in the small-business category.
“I couldn’t be more proud,” said BioJoe Renwick, co-founder of Green Energy Biofuel. “After they announced No. 20, I thought we were next each time, until the top 10. Then I was wondering if maybe we shouldn’t have even come because I thought, ‘There’s no way we are in the top 10.’ Then when there were only five companies left, I started thinking, ‘Shoot, we aren’t going to win anything.’ Then, when they got down to the top three companies, I was sure that we hadn’t won anything and I thought, ‘Surely, we aren’t in the top three.’ Then boom—No. 1. I still can’t believe it. I’m beyond blessed and happy.”
Green Energy Biofuel, which has been in business for nearly 15 years, grew its staff by more than 83 percent in 2022—and the year’s not even over. The company employed 24 people in early January and by mid-October it had 44 employees on the payroll.
Earlier this summer, the publishers of SC Biz News and the Best Companies Group named Green Energy Biofuel as one of the Best Places to Work in South Carolina in 2022. The 119 businesses that made the cut were categorized into small (15 to 49 employees), medium (50 to 249) and large (250 and above) employer categories and were honored Aug. 18 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.
Participating companies were surveyed by Best Companies Group, an independent research company. Employers responded to a questionnaire about policies and procedures. Employees were also surveyed on eight focus areas including work environment, pay and benefits, leadership and planning, and overall engagement.
“There’s certainly a humbling component to it,” Renwick says of winning these awards. “But a lot of it is outside recognition confirming that, hey, we are pretty awesome. It’s a realization moment that we have finally arrived. We’re a good company to work with, and it feels really good to take care of people and offer all the benefits we can, which we weren’t able to do in the past.”
In addition to paying 50 percent of employees’ healthcare premiums and all their dental and life insurance premiums, Green Energy Biofuel also provides its employees with 80 hours of paid time off (PTO) per year, plus 40 additional hours of parental leave for new parents.
“When we announced this additional paid leave for new parents, we had three employees with children on the way, and they had tears in their eyes,” Renwick says. “We’re reaching beyond the employee and benefiting people’s families and providing connection on a deeper level. It’s awesome. We never had the ability to touch people on this level before. It feels really good. It’s motivating.”
The company provides a number of other valuable benefits, including a 3 percent match for employee retirement accounts along with discretionary annual profit sharing, and commission on any new UCO account secured.
“I’m really proud of the benefits we offer,” Renwick says. “Having the ability on a deeper level to really take care of our people—it’s not just about hourly pay anymore. Now, it’s about total job satisfaction. It’s a beautiful thing.”
During National Truck Driver Appreciation Week in September, Green Energy Biofuel surprised its drivers with new Carhartt jackets. “We know we’re dead in the water without these fine people,” Renwick says.
On top of winning the No. 1 High-Growth Small Company and Best Places to Work in South Carolina awards, Green Energy Biofuel and ReSoil Compost also received the Carolina Recycling Association’s 2022 Annual Recycling Award this spring, for its efforts in advancing zero-landfill solutions through vertical integration.
“We have won awards before—the biomass project of the year after we opened our Aiken plant, and emerging manufacturer of the year—but until now we hadn’t gotten more than one in a year,” Renwick says. “It’s really a good feeling.”
In addition to collecting and processing liquid and solid organic wastes, Green Energy Biofuel also provides tank-cleaning services for industrial food manufacturers, restaurants and other companies that use or generate grease.
Green Energy Biofuel recently added depackaging equipment to its plant in Aiken, allowing it to accept expired or recalled prepackaged foods, maximizing its clients’ recycling efforts and helping them achieve coveted zero-landfill status.
On Oct. 25, Green Energy Biofuel will be hosting a Demo Day for invited attendees to witness the zero-landfill experience for themselves. The company’s newly installed depackager will demonstrate how effortlessly it separates diverse packaging and food waste for recovery and recycling into green-energy feedstock and composting material.
“We’re going to show people how the depackager works, how oil is processed, how we load railcars, and how to blow up a turkey,” Renwick says, laughing. “We want to demystify how this occurs. We’ll have tents with food, beverages and music. It’s going to be a great time.”
For those who would like to register to attend the Demo Day, contact Erika Coman, Green Energy Biofuel’s organizational change manager, at 803-718-6323 or email@example.com.