BioCycle Trailblazer: H. Clay Kellogg, Jr.

H. Clay Kellogg, Jr. (1927 – 1987)of Kellogg Supply Co. built a very successful company selling sewage sludge and recovering other organic materials in southern California.

BioCycle July 2019, Vol. 60 No. 5, p. 24

BioCycle Trailblazers

H. Clay Kellogg, Jr.

H. Clay Kellogg, Jr.

H. Clay (Hi) Kellogg, Jr. — and his father before him as well as his wife and children with and after him — built a very successful company selling sewage sludge and recovering other organic materials in southern California.

Though he passed away suddenly in 1987 at the age of 59, he made an indelible mark on the field of organics recycling.

Kellogg, on the West Coast, had begun a family enterprise who shared an enthusiasm for organics recycling and the restoration of soil through utilizing discarded materials — including biosolids (formerly known as sewage sludge).

“When I say sewage sludge, I mean well-digested and composted sewage sludge that no longer is a raw organic, but rather a humus product, without any unpleasant odor,” he wrote in Compost Science in 1973. “It will not burn. It will not attract flies, and it is weed-free except for a few tomato seeds. … You have the finest product available to sell.”

And sell he did. The 1973 article laid out Kellogg’s “serious points” for marketing this type of product, including:

• “You must have a continued source of quality sewage product. If that isn’t right, all else is wrong.”

• Give the product a federal registered tradename. “People still are not fully excited about putting sewage sludge around their pet petunias,” wrote Kellogg. …“Kellogg’s trademark is called ‘Nitrohumus.’ We sell Nitrohumus, not sewage sludge.”

• Build an image. “Incidentally, this takes more than just a few years,” he noted. “We are known as the ‘organic fertilizer’ company. Don’t try to be everything to everyone.”

• “Packages should be the right size and shape, and not too heavy or clumsy. Make them colorful … and easy to open. Have good directions with pictures to demonstrate how to use the product or package. Sell proper equipment to apply the material easily.”

• “Without any magic, you can successfully market sewage sludge. All you need is the desire and creativity. The quality of the product is there.”

— Nora Goldstein, BioCycle

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