Recycling has become an art form at Yptrix Industries Inc. in Churchill, Ontario, makers of Ecocast wildlife sculptures. John Norrish started Yptrix six years ago, spending the first year researching and developing the process by which he can turn scrap plastic into sculptures that resemble the more-costly soapstone.
The proprietary process uses the plastic materials as aggregate chips that are cast in molds.
The plastic is not melted. Local artists who work for Yptrix Industries provide the hand-finishing and detail work to the Inuit-style art.
The Ecocast Canadian Wildlife series includes sculptures of turtles, dolphins, sea lions, polar bears, walrus, eagles and humpback whales.
Materials used in the sculptures include ABS, PVC and urea.
We can use almost any type of plastic,'' Norrish said. ``Our only limitation is the softer plastics such as film.''
The softer materials must first be frozen in liquid nitrogen, then cryogenically ground into chips, Norrish explained. The company currently does not use post-consumer plastics, or commingled plastics, but is experimenting with both.
Norrish gets his materials primarily from large plastics processors.
We go into large companies and say, `Give us your scrap, and we'll make your corporate gifts from your own scrap,'*'' he said.
Companies such as Northern Telecom and Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. provide Yptrix with scrap plastics.
Besides Norrish's wife Maeve and son Matthew, the company employs four full-time finishing artists.
With Christmas less than five months away, the busy season has started at the plant, during which time Norrish employs as many as 16 artists.
Yptrix also manufactures plaques, trophies and other specialty award sculptures.
Tel. (705) 431-7193 or fax (705) 431-7005.