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Dartmouth's LakeCity Works makes 50 recycled plastic picnic tables for HRM

The social enterprise supports individuals living with mental illness on their quest for employment
061819-lakecity plastics
(Photo: Twitter @LakeCity_NS)

Be on the lookout for unique picnic tables popping up around HRM.

Halifax Regional Municipality has ordered 50 of the tables made from recycled plastic from Dartmouth's LakeCity Works.

The registered charity supports individuals living with mental illness on their quest for employment.

Their latest social enterprise, LakeCity Plastics, has set up a new manufacturing facility in Burnside where "lumber" made from recycled plastic films is being transformed into outdoor furniture.

"This is going to create employment opportunities for the clients we support," explained executive director Liam O'Rourke. "At this point to date, we have created 5 jobs through this project. A month into the project, I think that's pretty good."

"The sky is the limit really."

O'Rourke told NEWS 95.7's The Sheldon MacLeod Show the organization is thrilled to be partnering with HRM.

LakeCity Plastics makes the furniture with plastic lumber material created by Goodwood Plastic Products in Stewiacke.

"They're working primarily with film plastics that are coming from all over Atlantic Canada, and they're mixing that with a high density plastic to make this lumber material," he said. "So they're supplying us with the material and we're using our furniture expertise to turn that material into furniture that's usable for HRM and beyond."

The picnic tables can now be found around the municipality, including at Albro Lake Park, Shubie Park and DeWolf Park.

LakeCity Plastics is hoping other municipalities will be interested in working with them, but O'Rourke said, because their product is a 350-pound picnic table, shipping them far may not be an option. On the upside, there's no fear they'll blow away from an ocean-side park when the next nor'easter or tropical storm hits Halifax.

O'Rourke says they're exploring working with a lighter material which will allow them to expand into the residential market.

"They're more expensive than a standard picnic table because the material is just a little more expensive, but if you look at the longevity of the product, it kind of equals out," he said. "A wooden picnic, you'd be looking at 5 to 8 years at best, and these picnic tables, you'd be looking at 50."

With the federal government planning to ban single-use plastics by 2021, O'Rourke says he's not too worried about his raw material supply chain drying up because there's already plenty of plastic out there.

"If we can do our part to try and take some of the plastic and turn that into something that's not a single-use, that's going to be turned into a picnic table that's going to be around for 50 or 60 years, and then after that 50-60 years, potentially be recycled back into another picnic table, then that's changing the narrative of that plastic, and that's a good thing."


Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana and lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the editor for CityNews Halifax.
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