Imagine if all those plastic bags from your trip to the grocery store could be turned into pieces of art.
One Metro Vancouver man is making it happen.
Roger Brenninkmeyer is the founder and creative director of PECO (Plastic Essence Collaborative).
His Burnaby-based company creates art from unrecycled plastic household waste. Customers purchase designs from PECO's website and are sent an empty box. They fill the box with plastics which are used to complete their finished work of art. PECO also collaborates with corporate partners for larger items.
The assortment of plastic is melted, pressed, polished, buffed, and cleaned with a coating of essential oils. The artwork is then framed and shipped to the buyer. Local customers can also arrange for pick-up or drop-off.
"We transform their trash into a little bit of treasure," says Brenninkmeyer.
Flexible plastics, such as shopping and bread bags, are currently only accepted at depot facilities in the province, not through curbside collection. According to Recycle BC, just over 20 per cent of these types of plastics are recovered annually.
Brenninkmeyer says the key is looking at plastic through a different lens.
"We use it every day, it's a wonderful resource. Would it be perfect not to have in the world? Absolutely. But, think of all the things that you use it for; [we've] got to start thinking in kind of a different way about plastic," he explains.