Opinion: Plastics Recycling Comes Home to Alberta

Connector Summer 2018

Two local companies – Alternative Plastic Products Mfg. Inc. and Full Circle Plastics Ltd. are the only firms currently processing post-consumer plastics in Alberta. The two companies take all the waste plastic from the City of Lethbridge drop depot systems and the single stream pilot project – this represents about 25 metric tonnes per month. Other towns and villages provide another 55 tonnes.

These two companies could process 160 tonnes a month if Alberta towns, cities and provincial governments would reciprocate and use the end products that the two firms make – namely – barrier posts, retainer wall beams, curbs and fence posts. Currently, most of the end products are being sold into the United States of America.

Using a standard size plastic fence post on 450 kilometers of Alberta highway would use every kilogram of post-consumer plastic collected by the three cities of Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Red Deer.

If the barrier posts recently installed in Lethbridge’s Legacy park were plastic, it would have used 20 metric tonne of waste plastic and the post would last for 80 years plus. The post-consumer plastic that the city is collecting could be used for our benches, picnic tables, parking curbs and barrier posts in and around our parks.

Every Town and City will have the same problem – they are collecting plastic and not recycling it. We need to look after the problem in our own home town, our own province and not bank on unreliable international markets.

There are many more products that are currently made from concrete and wood that could be made from waste plastic and function just as well and last longer – sound barrier walls or beams for restoring river banks – such as is being done with treated lumber on the Bow River by Alberta Environment and Parks.

Submitted by:
Grant Harrington
President – Alternative Plastic Products Mfg. Inc. www.altplastic.com
Lethbridge, Alberta