One man’s trash is another man’s small business.

Corey Saban created the start-up [Re] Waste to help keep plastic out of local landfills. He operates the business out of his garage in Edmonton.

The founder says the company hopes to work with various cities, businesses and people to transform items like bags and hand sanitizer containers into new products.

“It started off as a project during COVID-19 after I was laid off,” Saban explained. “I did have the idea of repurposing plastic and what could be done with it. We have three young kids at home. We produce a lot of plastic waste.”

He worked with single-use plastic bags, a griddle and an iron to create his first project.

“We found we could change it into a hard tile. So it continued to evolve by getting some small-scale equipment like an injection machine. The injection machine was able to produce solid tiles from a mold.”

He collects various plastic types for repurposing — clamshell containers, milk jugs, hangers and restaurant takeout containers.

“We sort the plastic by type and colour. Then we shred it into plastic flakes which are used to create the product.”

Saban has created various new products, including totes made from recycled chip bags and hexagon tiles that protect and decorate interior walls.

He hopes his new business will help put a dent in a global plastic problem.

“Three million tonnes of plastic waste in Canada ever year is proving to be a challenge and only nine per cent of that is actually recycled,” he said.

The fledgling company has already worked with a few businesses, including Goodwill, and the City of Beaumont.

“We collected 275 pounds of plastic from Beaumont residents to be repurposed,” he explained.

“Our goal is to determine the average volume of plastic per household to see if we can make Beaumont the first city where residents do not contribute their plastic waste to the landfill.”

A hair salon in the west end is also donating plastic waste such as shampoo bottles to the company, to create combs and hair clips.

To date, [Re] Waste has repurposed more than 20 pounds of plastic from inside the garage. What’s next for every day items that have served their use? Saban said there’s still much to be done.

“Plastic is not bad — the way we handle plastic after we are done with its intended use is bad,” Saban said. “It’s about the next generation and providing a better environment for kids growing up. That’s the motivator right now.”

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