Travis Overacker, co-owner of Pnewko, poses for a photo with lawn chairs and planter boxes his company made out of recycled plastic. (Photo Submitted)

Travis Overacker, co-owner of Pnewko, poses for a photo with lawn chairs and planter boxes his company made out of recycled plastic. (Photo Submitted)

Lacombe company working to bolster usage of recycled plastics

‘If you can get creative with wood, you can get creative with plastic’

As recycling trends continue to grow and evolve, a Lacombe-based company is seeking to further educate the public about just how extensively recycled plastic can be used to create a range of products.

“People need to realize there are things they can do right now to help the environment – and quite easily,” said Travis Overacker, who co-owns Pnewko with his brother Chris. These days, the company specializes in the recycling of plastics.

After launching the business in Stettler originally, they later purchased land and set up shop in Lacombe.

Another plant was started up in Ontario 11 years ago. “Between the two of us, we are doing half a million kilograms of material a month.”

The process involves collecting plastics from a range of businesses locally.

“We sort, granulate and package that material up and then we sell it to end-users,” he explained. Currently, they are exploring how recycled plastics can be made into everything from parking curbs to fence posts.

Over the years, the recycled plastic pieces have been sent to end users abroad, and these days, the company is working to build up an increasingly local clientele, he said.

As to the production process, the plastics are cut up into tiny pieces through specialized machinery.

“These big granulators have a mouth at the top, and the material drops into that end and it hits the blades in the middle. The blades cut it to a size that it’s small enough to go through a screen at the bottom,” he explained. “Augers then take it away and put it into bins.”

As mentioned, the company is developing more of a local market these days.

Last year, in the midst of the pandemic, they also started producing two foot by four foot planters made out of recycled plastic along with lawn furniture, rocking chairs and any kind of fencing.

“If you can get creative with wood, you can get creative with plastic,” he said.

Travis said that overall, there is a lack of awareness about the diverse uses of recycled plastic.

And sometimes, people are wary of the change adapting to a new type of creative ‘material’ may require. But the advantages to the environment are significant.

Travis noted that although strides have been taken towards a greater commitment to recycling, there is room for more open-mindedness when it comes to looking at products that can be created from recycled materials.

For example, if a city opted for installing plastic parking curbs and plastic barrier posts in a year, upwards of 50 to 100 tonnes of plastics would be recycled annually just from those two usages, he said.

“A typical pencil point fence post for a barbed-wire fence – we can make those posts 100 per cent out of grocery bags. One fence post is 3,000 grocery bags.

“So a kilometre of fencing would be about a million grocery bags. We can use up a million grocery bags – all the grocery bags in Red Deer for a year in a kilometre of fence,” he said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and vacation bookings are being increased in B.C. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. announces signage along Alberta border to discourage non-essential travel

B.C. extends COVID-19 indoor dining, group fitness ban until May 25

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Alberta begins rolling out AstraZeneca COVID vaccine for those aged 40 or older

There are more than 70 pharmacies offering AstraZeneca, including 26 offering walk-in appointments

A child writes in their school notebook during a home schooling session in Cremona, Alta., Monday, March 23, 2020, amid the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands of students in Calgary will shift to online learning as of today in a bid to curb rising COVID-19 infection rates in the city. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Online classes begin for some Alberta students amid rising COVID-19 cases

Alberta currently has the highest rate of active COVID-19 cases in the country

Volunteers participate in a work-bee at J.J. Collett Natural Area on March 27. (Photo Submitted)
J.J. Collett natural area proceeding with projects

The nature area appeared on a list of parks and nature areas that were “underutilized” by UCP

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

sign
Alberta Biobord Corp. recently hosted a virtual open house from Stettler

The company plans to develop a fuel pellet and medium density fibre board (MDF) plant near the community

The Rogers logo is photographed in Toronto on Monday, September 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Rogers investigating after wireless customers complain of widespread outage

According to Down Detector, problems are being reported in most major Canadian cities

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Nothing stopping provinces from offering AstraZeneca vaccine to all adults: Hajdu

Health Canada has licensed the AstraZeneca shot for use in people over the age of 18

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

A vial of some of the first 500,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada secured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Canada’s 2nd blood clot confirmed in Alberta after AstraZeneca vaccine

The male patient, who is in his 60s, is said to be recovering

Most Read