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B.C. non-profit develops 1st-in-Canada plastic by repurposing ocean waste


A B.C. non-profit dedicated to combating ocean plastic pollution has developed a first-in-Canada product out of recycled materials.

Fishing ropes, buoys, floats and oyster trays are among the items that get recycled into Legacy Plastic pellets, according to a release by Ocean Legacy Foundation on Thursday.

The product can be used for anything regular plastic is used for, and was put on the commercial market this week following a successful soft launch in 2021

Chloé Dubois, who co-founded OLF in 2014, calls the launch of the product a huge milestone, adding that “creating opportunities that bolster the use of materials collected during cleanup into new products will continue to advance the success of the plastic circular economy.”

A circular economy is about creating a closed-loop system in order to reduce waste, something OLF said Legacy Plastic achieves.

Gil Yaron, OLF’s sales and marketing director, says most plastic recycling companies don’t want to handle highly contaminated ocean materials due to the heavy labour and high costs involved with collecting and cleaning them.

“There’s a lot of research and innovation that goes into creating this kind of technology. It takes a committed effort and it’s going into uncharted territories,” Yaron told CTV News.

The organization has set up four collection depots along B.C.’s coastline where aquaculture and fishing industries can bring used materials to be recycled. Its processing facility is set up in Steveston.

OLF has developed a patent pending technology that identifies the type of plastic contained in collected materials, which are then cleaned, reduced and reconstituted into some kind of liquid plastic form. Once that substance cools and hardens, it is cut into small pellets.

“We really see this as contributing and addressing the challenges we are facing globally, as a solution to the plastic pollution crisis in Canada that can serve North America.”

The team behind Legacy Plastic is made up of eight people, who have been working to develop for about six years.

Yaron says OLF has received millions in financial aid from both the governments of Canada and B.C. over the course of several years, and support through corporate sponsorships.

To date, Legacy Plastic has been used to make products by the paddleboard and kayak company Origami Paddler, as well as containers for the cosmetics company LUSH, and Whistler Performance Lubricants. According to the product’s website, It’s also used to make plastic lumber, park benches, picnic tables and outdoor furniture by Full Circle Plastics Ltd.

“We are in conversation with a number of really exciting partnerships and one of the things that we’re looking for is opportunities to use this plastic in high value durable products that will last. We don’t want to contribute to the same problem we’re trying to solve,” said Yaron. Top Stories

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