The Canadian company, Goodwood Plastic Ltd., has found a great use for over 80% of recyclable plastic in the city of Halifax. They collect the waste around the municipal and turn it into building blocks, that can be used to make tables, chairs, or any other ornament that uses wood.
The lumber can be nailed, drilled, glued, and handled the same way as the lumber that is made of wood. The only difference between the two is the synthetic one will last much longer before deteriorating.
Philopoulos said the remaining 20% of municipal plastics are being sent to other Canadian recycling markets, but Halifax Solid Waste Division Manager, Andrew Philopoulos, says that provincial legislators are particularly grateful for Goodwood’s initiative. “It’s certainly a great example of someone thinking outside the box and coming up with a new solution of how to manage this material,” Andrew said.
The manager at Halifax’s solid waste division, Andrew Philopoulos told CBC’s Information Morning: “We are very, very fortunate here in Nova Scotia to have that local company taking the material. Without them, I think we would find it challenging to find a market for a lot of the plastic packaging that we are collecting.”
Goodwood Plastic also made a name for themselves back in December when they partnered with a Sobeys grocery store to create one of the nation’s first parking lots made entirely out of post-consumer plastics saved from local landfills.
Although the bulk of Goodwood’s recycled plastic comes from single-use bags, they also process food jars and other common consumer packaging.
In 2017, municipalities across the province were trying to find new markets for recycled plastic, since China stopped accepting the material.
Philopoulos said roughly 90 to 95% of a backlog of recyclable material that accumulated during that time went to other markets to be used as an alternative fuel, while a small portion of it went to landfills.
He recognized that the relationship with Goodwood has solved the problem of what to do with the plastic, at least in the short-term.
Chassie said many jurisdictions across North America and across the world are facing similar challenges, and he foresees his company as being part of the solution.
“I guess you can call it the proving ground,” said Chassie. “We can take this business — the knowledge and our skills — and we can export it and take it to other places. Post-consumer plastic is not going away, so we need to continue to find ways to give it a new life so it becomes a resource, instead of a waste.”
Mike Chassie, the vice president of Goodwood, hopes their business model will inspire other countries to launch similar ventures, since many other jurisdictions are facing similar challenges,