Thousands of plastic bottles from Iqaluit’s water crisis will be turned into clothing and more
Eight maritime drums filled with plastic water bottles are sent from Iqaluit to Montreal for recycling at the end of July.
Hundreds of thousands of bottles of water were airlifted to Iqaluit during the city’s water crisis last fall. Fuel contamination in Iqaluit’s water supply prevented the town’s approximately 8,000 residents from drinking tap water for two months.
Meanwhile, the city of Iqaluit set up water drop-off stations where residents could pick up trays of plastic water bottles.
“It was a sudden influx of plastic that the city was expecting to see in the landfill,” said Brian Tattuinee, business development manager for Nunavut Sealink and Supply Inc., which is part-owned by Arctic Co- operatives. Limit.
« So we thought we could help alleviate some of the environmental impact of this emergency. »
There are no recycling facilities in Iqaluit, forcing all of the city’s trash to be dumped, whether recyclable or not.
When the water crisis began last October, the cooperative pledged to drop off four sea canisters along with the plastic bottles to be shipped south.
Tattuniee said with the help of the city and the Government of Nunavut, four more sea canisters were donated and filled. He said it saved around 265,000 liters of plastic from landfill.
The eight maritime canisters of bottles are being shipped by the first sealift vessel which is scheduled to arrive on July 28. They will be transported to the Sealink and Supply Port of Nunavut in Sainte-Catherine, Quebec. From there, the marine canisters will be sent to Montreal Polymers, a plastic recycling company in Montreal.
Tattuniee was unable to say how much this process will cost the co-op.
« When all of this started happening, we weren’t really too concerned about what it might cost, » Tattuniee said. « We just understood, we thought we could do something so we decided to give it a try. »
Muhammad Naeem, president of Montreal Polymers, said his company probably wouldn’t get anything from the water bottles sent to them, but was happy to do so because it’s a good cause.
« We don’t want anything going to landfill, it’s a sin to send something to landfill if you can reuse it, » he said.
The bottles will be processed at the factory and turned into small plastic pellets which will be washed and used to make fibers like polyester. These are then sold to companies that resell the material to industries that manufacture clothing and other items.