A University of Ottawa-based social enterprise has won a $150,000 grant for a pilot project aimed at using injection moulding technology to turn recycled plastics into new products.
Polycycle, which is based at the university’s student-run Enactus social enterprise incubator, said the products will be sold to help fund the organization’s efforts to promote environmental awareness.
The grant comes from insurance firm Aviva Canada’s Community Fund, which was launched to celebrate the country’s 150th birthday by supporting projects that benefit the environment.
“Polycycle will also promote environmental stewardship through marketing and awareness campaigns that will be centred around the selling of products and collection of plastic waste,” the company said in a news release, adding the funding will help expand the program to communities across Canada.
Under the program, discarded plastics are gathered from collection drives, individuals and partnerships with local businesses and institutions. The plastic is then washed and shredded into smaller pieces before being moulded into new products.
“This not only gives the plastic new life and diverts it from landfills or elsewhere, but will also create further environmental and social impact, since our team is looking into various ways to make the products created also have a positive environmental impact,” the company said in a statement.
Polycycle said its moulding machines are “relatively inexpensive” and will be accessible to organizations such as schools and non-profits as well as entrepreneurs.
“We are looking to work with communities to identify who the best project lead would be, and then implement the full process, tailoring what products we manufacture and what plastic we collect to each individual community,” it said.