Renewable Environmental Solutions Closes Carthage Plant

By Robert J. Korpella

First posted on 03-06-2009

Changing World Technologies Inc., which owns the Renewable Environmental Solutions plant in Carthage, Missouri has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection saying it was unable “to fund its operations going forward and to move ahead with its expansion strategy.”

Carthage officials and residents were often at odds with the biofuels plant in their community and accused it of producing obnoxious odors that permeated the town of 14,000 in southwest Missouri.

The company stated in a release that it has laid off the majority of its 50 person workforce in Carthage. The plant rendered poultry waste into fuel products and the Butterball Turkey plant in Carthage confirmed that it stopped shipping material to Renewable Environmental Solutions early this week.

Although the parent company has not contacted local officials about closing the facility nor has it issued a release saying anything more than that it has filed bankruptcy and laid off employees, the Missouri Career Center has begun operating as if this were a plant closure. The Center is holding a meeting today to discuss unemployment benefits, job training and job opportunities with affected workers.

Renewable Environmental Solutions originally opened in May, 2004 with a capacity to convert up to 78,000 tons of poultry processing waste into 9 million gallons of biodeisel fuel. But Carthage residents began complaining almost immediately about odors they concluded were coming from the plant.

In December of 2005, Governor Matt Blunt ordered the plant shut down. The company spent $3 million on odor control equipment and installation and reopened the facility three months later. But odor complaints continued to pester the operation, coming from residents and from Carthage Mayor James Woestman.

Throughout the time of odor complaints, Renewable Environmental Solutions denied it was the source of the problem. However, it agreed to pay $100,000 in civil penalties plus $25,000 for each violation over the next two years in a deal with the state. That was in June, 2006 and the company was cited again in November of that year but has not received another violation since that time.

Mayor Woestman grieves the loss of 50 jobs but said that, since the plant was such a small operation, it would have little affect on the community financially.


You complainers out there are something else.  There’s lots for people to complain about in a rural town like our county seat city of Bakersfield out here in California where dairy cows are prevalent and so is the smell of their excrement.  It just tends to go with the neighborhood.  Can somebody from the butterball plant please explain where the turkey guts go if they do not get transformed into nice sweet oil?  What is the alternative? Thanks.

By John on February 22, 2012 – 2:26 pm

I hope they keep trying to improve their process. There exists other things they can try. Everything is an experiment, even the people who walk this earth. Become a scientist and not just a politcian.

By Hal on January 17, 2012 – 9:32 pm

The bigger picture about all this is being largely ignored, and for what? A stink? has anyone commenting on this sight ever lived near an oil refinery? Not a very pleasent order incase you haven’t, yet there is very little complaint about them, and I would be willing to bet that all the people complaining about a stink use the products from an oil refinery. 50 jobs lost doesn’t sound like a lot at first but consider the bigger picture here people all the $ we export to buy something that we can produce here at home so that we can drive, have a plastic bottle of water, and a long list of other things that the crude oil we all use. Leades me to ask a question: What stinks more, funding the terrorists and going further into debt to fight them, or buy a nose plug and keep the $ in this country?

From the information in the article the city got at least $125,000 from fines. At $4 each it would only cost $56,000 to buy all the 14,000 people in Carthage a good nose plug, leaving the city $69,000 to spend on something.

By Think people on October 19, 2010 – 7:36 am

Interesting cont that has a patent on the technology.  Why would they patent a con

By Denis on July 09, 2010 – 8:25 am

John, watch this over the next two years.  It is impossible.  They’ll take in a few companies like they took in the government.  I would love for this to be true, but it just is not possible.

By Sean on November 11, 2009 – 11:43 pm

Sean, You say RES is a con. That what they say they can do is Ludicrous and can’t be accomplished. Then why is it that they have actually sold manufactured oil from THEIR plant to Schrieber, a huge employer in carthage, to heat their boilers. Sounds to me they can do what they actually say they can.

By John on November 11, 2009 – 6:32 pm

Richard, you can have this plant.  It’s a con.  Check your facts on the company.  They’ve never been able to do what they said they can do.  It can’t be done.  It would be nice if we had some qualified chemists to explain simply to the public why this can not be accomplished with turkey parts.  Ludicrous.  So if you want them, be my guest, your tax dollars will go to waste.

By Sean on October 25, 2009 – 10:03 am

I’ve followed this closely since the plant opened.

So far as I can tell it was never proven that the plant was the actual source of the alleged smells.

I know that there are several other possible sources of odors in the area, including pig farms and the Butterball plant they recycled waste from.

I note that on many of the days residents complained the plant was not operating, making their complaints suspect of just blaming the newest entity in place of the actual culprit.

Now that the plant is closed, are residents still complaining?

I have contacted the company in hopes of convincing them to move their operation to my state.

The jobs they can create here will be welcome.

IF there is a smell, it will not be a problem with our wide open spaces.

By Richard on October 09, 2009 – 12:02 pm

So Blah, how about we move that plant next door to you. Hey, you could always move!

By Carmen on March 09, 2009 – 9:25 pm

Some people DID move, but why should more than 14,000 people have to relocate because of ONE very SMALL business that causes such a disgusting smell in an entire town?  MOST of the people in Carthage were there LONG before that smelly rendering plant was even thought of, and frankly they shouldn’t have to leave town because of it.  For future reference, though, in the event some other OUT OF TOWN business comes in and starts a big stink, where do you suggest everybody relocate to?

By Angela on March 09, 2009 – 3:22 pm

If you people don’t like the smell you should move!

By BLAH on March 09, 2009 – 1:47 pm

I used to work in Carthage before that plant went in and it was a nice place. Pretty town, too, with all the nice old homes. I went through there a couple times later and it was terrible. I’m sorry too about the jobs lost when the economy is poor but that place need to go. You can imagine what rotting turkey poop and turkey parts smell like. That was Carthage.

By No Stink on March 06, 2009 – 8:06 pm

Well, it’s ABOUT time!  I’m sorry people lost their jobs, but the company was making the town a horrible place to be!  I have family there, so am there frequently and honestly the smell made you want to vomit.  The entire town was practically held hostage in a situation that this irresponsible company kept denying.  Again, sorry about the job losses, but fifty people will be able to find jobs and over 14,000 will be able to take a deep breath out in the open again.

By Angela on March 06, 2009 – 5:45 pm