Cover Story: C&D Landfill's Hyundai wheel loader

By: Cameron Officer, Photography by: Cameron Officer

C&D Landfill turned to Porter Equipment and the heavy-duty muscle of Hyundai’s wheel loader line-up to help futureproof their busy landfill operation

Wellington’s C&D Landfill Ltd is a unique company in two respects. The first unique aspect is its roll call of staff. And the second is… well, it’s also a roll call of staff.

Janita Morgan at the wheel of the Wellington company’s brand new 30-tonner

Not only is this a thoroughly family-run operation but it’s also possibly the only landfill company in the country run almost entirely by women.

When I visited C&D Landfill, high above the city near Owhiro Bay on one of those stunning late-summer mornings Wellington is capable of conjuring up, it took me almost as long to note down the many Morgan family members who are heavily involved in running the company as it does the stats on their latest machine acquisition.

The brother and sister team of owner John Morgan and office manager Christine Morgan run the overall company while John’s daughter Lana runs the landfill specifically. Jess Morgan is in the office while the frontline drivers are also all Morgans—and almost all female too—with Janita, Paige, Simone, and Jason all at the controls of the company’s machine fleet.

"As an extended family, we pretty much spend every minute of the day together in one way or another," says Lana.

Mostly Morgans: the C&D crew on their new Hyundai HL780-9 wheel loader

"Between operations down at the base, the gate house, and then the actual landfill up here, we’re all involved. We all operate the equipment and can jump on any machine to help out whenever the need arises."

The landfill location itself is pretty special on a clear blue day like the day we visited, with views right across the harbour city. Janita says it can be extreme in the other direction during winter, however.

"Often, you’re literally working in the clouds up here. It’s very exposed, so having a nice machine to be in becomes even more beneficial in colder months, as does its grip in the wet and good visibility," she says.

The landfill has a licence for night shift work, but general operations see it open between 7am and 5pm daily. Handy then that the Morgans almost all reside just outside the gates, down at the bottom of the hill, where John has gradually built the business up over the last couple of decades.

Hyundai power

The new wheel loader’s bigger bucket size makes for more efficient machine movements

C&D Landfill Ltd recently celebrated its 25th year of operation. Over that time, John has owned plenty of trucks and machines. The company’s latest addition is a new Hyundai HL780-9 wheel loader.

Janita says that the Hyundai’s larger size also makes for more precise earthmoving. "The bigger loader is smoother and much more precise to use," she says. "There are fewer mistakes, and we still get better efficiency out of it because of the larger bucket size as well."

Heaped bucket capacity for the big Hyundai HL780-9—almost the largest wheel loader the manufacturer builds—is 5.4 cubic metres. Coupled with larger tyres and a huge amount of torque from its turbocharged 348hp Cummins QSM11 engine, Janita says the machine’s biggest plus over other wheel loaders is its ability to push dirt higher.

The Hyundai HL780-9 gives the C&D team better push and reach when forming stockpiles

"We need this new loader to push the dirt up on our stockpile embankments. It has the ability to push material up by an extra metre over any other machine we have had, which actually makes for quite a big difference.

"We also move our stockpiles quite a lot just as a normal part of our operations, so having the larger bucket and the ability to shift more material is really good. The bigger machine also means that it compacts the ground as we move around, which makes for a tidier work site," says Janita.

Porter Equipment support

Landfill operations manager Lana Morgan moves another Hyundai fleet item, the Hyundai R235LCR-9 excavator

John is adamant about one thing: in his business, back-up is crucial. He recounts the time, a few years back, when circumstances and bad luck saw three machines down at once. It was a crippling scenario and one he doesn’t want to see repeated.

Let down by the distributors involved on that occasion means that, since then, John says a machine distributor that can offer comprehensive and quick support is always going to be top of his list.

He already has a Hyundai R235LCR-9 crawler excavator on his fleet and has had other Hyundai gear in years gone by. C&D Landfill Ltd has also relied on Porter Hire’s abilities to get supplementary machines on-site quickly in the past as well.

"I watch the back-up system that Porter Equipment runs like a hawk. I’m very impressed with what I’ve seen over time. Josh Hunter from Porter Equipment has been very good to deal with," John says.

"Our machines don’t have as hard a life as loaders or diggers in a quarry might. You might be surprised to learn that we don’t even have many punctures, which I think a lot of people expect would be a constant hassle in a landfill. But we might only get two or three a year.

"Machines get scarred and scratched pretty quickly, but we try to look after our gear. We have a fair bit of it and it’s all an investment in making sure the company is ticking over as it should be.

"If the loader or the digger is running right, then the operation is in good hands because I trust the girls to get the job done. As long as they have trustworthy machinery to work with, then we’re doing okay."

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